Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers

As Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) kicks off its worldwide analyst meetings today, the company is attempting to inject some pizzazz into the proceedings by adding new features to edge and core routers (see Cisco Adds New Routers).

While none of the announcements alone really rock the routing world, they do provide much-needed responses to Cisco's competitors, as well as a stop-gap measure for Cisco's elusive HFR core router. Specifically, Cisco has enhanced its 7600 edge router product line, added new routers to its GSR 12000 family, and unveiled the latest member of its high-end 12000 routers.

For the 7600, Cisco is trotting out new Internetwork Operating System (IOS) enhancements, such as the addition of Layer 2 Virtual Private LAN Service, and new cards that sport faster CPUs and bigger switch fabrics. The new bells and whistles are meant to entice users who hope to upgrade from installed 7500 boxes.

It's possible that Cisco is feeling some heat on the edge, as the 7500 is a mature platform and competitors such as Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) have been banging on about their own "7500 replacement" programs (see Juniper Touts New Edge Lineup).

While enhancing the 7600, Cisco is also pushing the 12000 line farther out to the edge, a trend that's been going on for a while (see Cisco GSR 12000 Sent to the Edge). The new 12010 and 12006 boxes might seem redundant, given that Cisco already has an established line of edge routers, but these offerings bring an ATM/Frame Relay focus to the edge, a contrast to the Ethernet-focused 7600.

Then again, redundancy might be part of the plan all along. "There is a good degree of overlap between the 10000, 7600, and now the 12000, which enables Cisco to pretty much have a solution for just about any service provider scenario. I think it's mostly a case of Cisco trying to cover every possible gap in its product line," says Joe McGarvey, analyst with Current Analysis.

Finally, the 12000 family is getting a booster shot at the high end, as Cisco announced the 12810 and 12816, with switch fabrics that reach 1.28 Tbit/s of capacity (that is, if you count the incoming and outgoing traffic separately). Cisco has had these models on its Website since last year (see Cisco's Got a Terabit Router Too). Each slot of the 12800 series can handle 40 Gbit/s -- that is, two OC192 lines, multiplied by two for being bidirectional. Cisco officials note that they can turn any of the installed 12000 series routers into one of the 12800 boxes by simply upgrading the switch fabric.

Table 1: Cisco's 12000 Series Routers
Chassis Rack Size Slots Full Duplex Switching Capacity
12016 Full 16 80 Gbit/s (upgradable to 320 Gbit/s)
12404 1/8 4 80 Gbit/s
12406 1/4 6 120 Gbit/s
12410 1/2 10 200 Gbit/s
12416 Full 16 320 Gbit/s
12810 1/2 10 800 Gbit/s
12816 Full 16 1280 Gbit/s
Source: Cisco Systems Inc.

The new 12800s, big and fast though they may be, are single chassis stopgaps when compared to the long-awaited Huge Fast Router (HFR), a multichassis architecture that would represent a true next-generation core offering (see Source: Cisco's HFR Tips the Scales).

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
fw23 12/4/2012 | 11:11:08 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers
This is a big non-event for cisco.

The 7600 is not a competitive product. Its
a band-aid to a product whose best days are
far behind it.

The 128xx was created so that Cisco's key
captive customers had an opportunity to waste
even more money on another incremental upgrade
of the 12000 series.

I can see chase now preparing his talk to
explain why sprint should pour more money down
the drain on this. After all, its just until
Godot (sorry the HFR) arrives. Promise them
HFR, but deliver endless switch upgrades of
the 12xxx. its been remarkably effective.

When its /just/ a switch upgrade in a 12xxx,
your still talking about tearing the whole system
apart. And if it were me (which it is not),
I would rather forklift replace the existing
12xxx with the 128xxx in bulk rather than
spend all that time tearing things apart and
hoping that they work.

I have to hand it to cisco though. Given that
they have no competition of note, they can do
what they want. And their strategy of getting
a strangle-hold on key accounts by making the
staff more loyal to cisco than their own company
is just brilliant.

reoptic 12/4/2012 | 11:11:08 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers We doubled the density of the line cards to 20Gb...but really that is 40Gb because if you double count the doubling then you get fourty...see...so even if we cannot double today, you can double when we double, so you will get double when we double down, so to speak. So you all see that even though we call it 816, which is double 416, it is really 4 times. Now, today we can do the 32 192cs in a 7 foot rack that juniper introduced 2 years ago; wow, we are good. Oh wait, they introduced 64 192cs in a 7 foot rack 2 years ago, and we are now introducing 32. So what. How much share do we have --- we are really good!
optical_man 12/4/2012 | 11:11:07 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers Author: fw23 Number: 2
Subject: so what? (cisco) Date: 12/10/2003 10:27:40 PM
This is a big non-event for cisco.

this IS a big event for Cisco. They are beefing up efforts.
Now, it's fully understood that you work for Juniper or Procket, so we all understand your "i've got my options, my first job, and my corp. logo shirt" mentality. I figure you wear the corp. logo shirt in airports, hoping to be stopped and strike up a conversation about how you are pretty 'cool'.

You have about 2-3 decades in the industry, if you're good. Don't go blowing your industry contacts and relationships (and it's view of you, because we do remember, oh yes we do) on the first 'high profile' gig you have. It'll be remembered.
Look at all upgrades, advancements, bulls##t press releases you see over the next 27 years with an open mind. It'll serve you better in the long run.

edgecore 12/4/2012 | 11:11:07 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers All this talk about the delays with HFR and the endless 12K upgrades....

Isn't the HFR a fairly low potential volume product? Kind of like the HDX of the routing world (i.e. it takes up more room that the Judd sisters)?

I just do not get the excitement...its huge, its routes packets...someone pinch me...the T640 has been out for a couple of years and it gets very little press coverage...so what gives, why should John Q Public care?

Beer me Madge,


myoptic 12/4/2012 | 11:11:03 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers Complements to Craig for producing a fair and honest article summarizing Cisco's announcement. What happened in the next few hours undermined any claim to objectivity.

First, a table was mysteriously added to the article which perpetuates Cisco's mathematical creativity. It manages to inflate the real 300Gbps switching capacity of the 12816 to 1.28 Terabits by 1) ignoring the fact that only 20Gbps per slot linecards are supported; 2) doubling again with bogus "full duplex" math; and 3) ignoring the fact that 1-2 slots must be used for route processors.

Second, Steve Saunders stooped to new lows with a pathetic press release simultaneously worshiping John Chambers and doing self-promotion of Heavy Reading.


Excerpt: "This is hugely significant and exciting for Heavy Reading," says Stephen Saunders, one of Light Reading's founders. "That the CEO of one of the most important and exciting companies in the world is reading our reports and citing our survey results to the world's analysts and press just a few short month's after Heavy Reading's launch is an incredible testament to the power of our research."

fw23 12/4/2012 | 11:11:02 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers >Excerpt: "This is hugely significant and >exciting for Heavy Reading," says Stephen >Saunders, one of Light Reading's founders. "That >the CEO of one of the most important and >exciting companies in the world is reading our >reports and citing our survey results to the >world's analysts and press just a few short >month's after Heavy Reading's launch is an >incredible testament to the power of our >research."

That statement is pure truth. HEAVY READING
proved to EVERYONE that cisco has no real
competition and showed that juniper is a huge
fraud that most of the market doesn't even
know exists.

Cisco is the only player in the game that people
know. HEAVY READING proved that they ARE
the market as far as many product catagories.
Customers in most cases dont even know that
any other option exists.

And if you had read their other EXCELLENT
coverage of these issues, you (AND THOSE
COMPANIES) would KNOW that the only way
they can even start to challenge cisco is
to spend more money on media buys.

Companies like Laurel and Juniper and Procket
need to ADVERTISE. They need to stop spending
so much on BUILDING and spend more on MARKETING.

Word for you: Superbowl Juniper needs a
superbowl ad, a celebrity endorsement and
a running set of ads on foxnews.

willrouteforfood 12/4/2012 | 11:11:01 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers who do you work for o_m? Or, better yet, who did you "previously" work for? You sound a bit tense, or angry, or spiteful...or something. First of all, this is a non-event. It is a bandaid on a gunshot wound for Cisco. They are falling behind. "Beefing up efforts?" If they were beefing up efforts, they would not be nearly 2 years behind. If I remember correctly, the 12400 was only 12 months or so behind Juniper's M160. The gap has widened to nearly 2 years now, and it does not even give them parrity (as Volpe says). This is just another set of forced upgrades for a captive user base with our industry's version of the Stockholm-syndrome.

So, you cannot be good until you've been in the industry for 2-3 decades? That is a bit disconcerting.... I think my experience, albeit not in the 2-3 decade range, may differ from yours. I wasn't aware that in order to maintain industry relationships you had to have the same opinions. I am not sure that is what I signed up for when I got into this industry. But, what would I know, I don't have 30 years experience.

BTW, I think the logo shirts look pretty shnazzy!

dadofamunky 12/4/2012 | 11:10:45 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers I can sorta agree with both willroute and OM, and also disagree.

First, the routing business hasn't been around 2-3 decades, so that level of experience conferring credibility is a chimera. Give up the snobbery, it says more about you than about anyone else.

Second, Cisco has virtually ALL of the market cap, and ALL of the after-tax income in its space. Lucent and Nortel are not even a bump on a log and barely breaking even now after 3 yrs. of death spiral. So if Cisco is only addressing the "here and now," who cares? They now have a virtual monopoly in many areas. No one else is even threatening them.

Third, whining about how Cisco's technology lacks long-term value or is a bandaid on a gunshot wound is completely irrelevant. If it works fine for most purposes and stays up for four 9's, that's enough for the RBOCs and ISPs. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are the elephant in the room.

Fourth, Juniper has to look long-term. They cannot afford to go toe-to-toe with Cisco in marketing. They just don't have the revenue. Also, for Fox News, I doubt a single viewer for that venue even knows what a freakin' router IS. Remember, these are the same people who think Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity are "Fair and Balanced." :)~
optical_man 12/4/2012 | 11:10:45 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers willroute,
Stockholm Syndrome!!! What a great analogy! Wish I could've thought of that.

You misread some points I made, or I wasn't clear.
1) "you'll have 2-3 decades in the industry" means you have a long career ahead of you.
2) You don't have to be in the industry 2-3 decades to be believable. I can see where what I said would be misconstrued.
I meant "the business plans you present to rboc's should have a value to the rboc spanning at least 10 years." From what I see of Cisco's networks/business solutions, they only address the here and now, the go-go need of an Enterprise. They may be attempting to craft longer term "solutions", but I haven't seen them yet.
3) "don't go blowing your industry contacts" means don't badmouth your competitors because these industry contacts will also be in the industry 2-3 decades. They'll appreciate an even keel, over a 'kill them now' mentatlity you show just to get this ONE P.O. I tell my customers I disagree with them all the time, but do it in a sane fashion without using hyperbole.

willrouteforfood 12/4/2012 | 11:10:44 PM
re: Cisco Beefs Up Edge & Core Routers o_m,
a very rational explanation. Thanks for the clarification. I was ready to begin calling truck driving schools if it took 30 years to gain any credibility! ;)

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Sign In