Cisco touts core router customers, smaller platform

A research center in Pittsburgh as well as a broadband service provider and an academic network in Japan all have bought Cisco Systems's first totally new core routing platform in seven years, which was introduced with fanfare in June, Cisco announced on Monday.

The announcement of customer deals for the Carrier Routing System (CRS-1) came just days after rival Juniper Networks introduced a system to interconnect four of its own T-Series core routers. A full Juniper system now can offer 2.5T bps (bits per second) of capacity and handle 3 billion packets per second, compared with a Cisco architecture that can string together as many as 72 CRS-1 interface racks for 92T bps of capacity. Juniper says its platform is sized more appropriately for carriers today and will grow in the future. Cisco announced Monday a half-size version of the CRS-1 chassis that it said has been part of its product plan from the beginning.

Also Monday, Cisco announced a partnership with Fujitsu and said it is delivering technology it acquired in a recent acquisition as part of a strategy to help service providers converge many services on one network and control those services more tightly.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, which participates in the U.S. National Science Foundation's TeraGrid high-speed research network, recently used the CRS-1 to demonstrate real applications running over a 40G bps link, according to a Cisco statement. Japan's Softbank BB, which operates broadband services in Japan under the Yahoo BB name, has chosen the CRS-1 for its network backbone. Also in Japan, the National Institute of Informatics will use the CRS-1 as its core routing system for research into grid, supercomputing and other applications, Cisco said.

In addition, Telecom Italia and 14 other major service providers around the world have the CRS-1 in trials, said Suraj Shetty, director of marketing for Cisco's routing technology group, in an interview Friday.

Cisco has added an 8-slot system to the original 16-slot platform to give carriers another deployment option, Shetty said. The new system, with 640G bps capacity compared with 1.2T bps for the 160-slot platform, is already shipping and starts at US$225,000.

Fujitsu became one of Cisco's major partners with a deal, announced Monday, for carrier and enterprise routing and switching in the Japanese market. Cisco and Fujitsu will jointly develop features for Japanese carriers and enterprises on IOS-XR, the version of Cisco's Internetwork Operating System that runs the CRS-1. They also will deliver co-branded products running IOS-XR for Japanese service providers, beginning in the first half of next year. Fujitsu will build networks for carriers and service providers that combine network gear from the two vendors along with servers, and the companies will cooperate on network testing and integration, Cisco said.

All of Cisco's moves on Monday serve its strategy for building what it calls IP Next-Generation Networks, according to Shetty. The strategy involves convergence of multiple networks into one and the delivery of multiple types of applications over one network, including voice, video, data and mobile capabilities on both wired and wireless infrastructure. That requires intelligence about subscribers and the applications they are using, as well as tighter control for security, quality of service and adjustable pricing, Shetty said.

For example, a broadband service provider could control the bandwidth available for a particular application, such as downloading large multimedia files. When a user tried to do that, the service provider could detect it and give a user the opportunity to download it faster by paying for extra bandwidth, he said.

Using technology it acquired through its purchase of software developer P-Cube, which closed in October, Cisco is offering two purpose-built devices for user and application intelligence and control, the Cisco SCE 1000 and 2000 Service Control Engines, the company announced Monday.

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