Cisco enhances the edge

Cisco this week announced enhancements to its carrier IP/MPLS edge routers designed to make service provider networks more efficient and facilitate the rollout of broadband, wireless, private line, and metro Ethernet services.

New interfaces on Cisco's 12000 series routers deliver up to an 80 per cent reduction in power and rack space usage, Cisco claims. The interfaces include a four-port OC-12c/STM-4c ATM IP Services Engine (ISE) line card that Cisco says allows carriers to converge transport of ATM traffic over a 10G bit/sec IP/MPLS infrastructure.

Another is a four-port Gigabit Ethernet ISE line card that adds Ethernet aggregation to the 12000 line. Both line cards support IPv6, IP quality of service (QoS) and other queuing options for tiered service offerings, Cisco says.

Cisco also unveiled new interfaces for its 7600 series routers that are designed to allow carriers to integrate new Ethernet services along with existing private-line services. The interfaces include a 12-port channelized T-3/E-3 Optical Service Module (OSM), a single-port channelized OC-12s/STM4-c OSM, and an enhanced four-port Gigabit Ethernet OSM.

The line cards enable carriers that have deployed Cisco's 8-year-old 7500 router for private-line aggregation to integrate that function into the 7600, which they could deploy for Ethernet service rollout. Cisco offers a so-called FlexWAN card in the 7600 that supports old port adapters from the 7500.

Cisco also rolled out the 7613 router, a 13-slot, half-rack chassis for increased port density and capacity for carriers.

France Telecom and COLT are two service providers already using the new products.

Citing data from the Yankee Group, Cisco says the edge router market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 18% over the next five years, eclipsing US$3 billion in 2006.

The new interfaces for the 7600 series starts at US$44,000. List pricing on the Cisco 12000 series interfaces starts at $US75,000. The Ethernet interface is available in the US now, and the ATM interface is scheduled to be available in May.

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