Router hopeful is quietly building a next-generation box. Is the whole thing a front for Cisco?

August 12, 2004

3 Min Read
BCN Joins Router Race

A Silicon Valley startup called BCN Systems Inc. is busy building a "next-generation router," according to hiring notices on its Website. The company, led by a former Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) engineer, is barely past inception and is already drawing comparisons to Procket Networks.

There's talk that the company is a front for Cisco's next-generation router plans, with Cisco funding the company and recruiting Juniper engineers to staff it. Light Reading hasn't been able to confirm that speculation, and Cisco officials claimed no knowledge of BCN.

Founder and CEO Michael Beesley is a systems software expert who worked on mid-range routers at Cisco, contributing to products such as the 7200. He then moved to Juniper, where he was part of the team building the flagship M40 and also helped out on the high-end T640.

It's only recently that he struck out on his own. The company's articles of incorporation were filed with the state of Delaware in April 2004. Beesley could not be reached for comment.

Should the Cisco rumor prove true, a lot will ride on the type of router BCN is building. "Next-generation router" could arguably point to an access or edge box. But if it turns out to be a core router, then Cisco would have quite a bit to answer for, considering the company has staked much of its future on the CRS-1, launched at a not-so-subtle Silicon Valley event in May (see Cisco Unveils the HFR and Make Way for Cisco's HFR).

The BCN hiring slate drops some hints as to its intentions. One requisition asks for a senior hardware engineer able to design boards with "very large semi-custom and full-custom ASICs and high clock speeds." Several software openings exist as well, for engineers in the OS, module driver, and protocol areas. BCN is also looking for routing and Sonet/SDH experts.

One difference from Procket and many other router startups: BCN doesn't appear to have enormous sums of money to burn through (yet). Many of the positions stress working in small teams, and the data architect's job description mentions being in a "team of one." BCN also didn't splurge on custom Web design -- if you visit its site with browser graphics turned off, the lead banner bears the message: "Your Company Name Here."

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

For more on this topic, check out:

  • The coming Light Reading Webinars:
    — Scaleability & Reliability of Routing Protocols and OS in Public Networks
    — The Future of Core Routing

  • The Light Insider report:
    The Core IP Report

For further education, visit the archives of related Light Reading Webinars:

  • Core Routers: What Next?

  • Edge Routing: Evolution and Economics

  • IP: Routers – the State of the Art

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