Cisco moves backbone routers to network edges

Cisco Systems this week rolled out two high-end IP routers aimed at network service providers and made its 12000 series of backbone routers available for use at the edges of networks.

Deb Mielke, an analyst at Treillage Network Strategies Inc. in McKinney, Texas, said adding edge router support to the 12000 systems should let service providers offer corporate users higher-speed IP applications and services, such as voice over IP and video.

The edge capabilities are made possible by a set of six line cards that Cisco announced this week. The company also added a new small-footprint router to the 10G bit/sec. 12000 series. In addition, it introduced an access router designed for use in hooking enterprise users to metropolitan area networks.

Barry Tishgart, director of IP project management at Sprint Corp.'s hosting and managed services unit in Kansas City, Missouri, has been testing both the 12404 small-footprint router and the edge line cards. Both use Cisco's dynamic packet technology (DTP), a proprietary variation of the proposed Spatial Reuse Protocol (SRP) standard now being reviewed by an IEEE working group.

DTP "helps ensure survivability in our IP backbone" in the event of network fiber problems, Tishgart said Jim Slaby, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said DTP and SRP are designed to compensate for fiber breaks by switching traffic to a minimal number of backup fibers instead of having a dormant counterpart for every working fiber in an optical ring.

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