Cisco Makes Multiservice Move

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) today expanded its line of multiservice switches by announcing two new switches -- a teeny tiny one and a big fellah -- plus a router module (see Cisco Intros Multiservice ATM Gear). Being Cisco, it also wrapped the whole bundle up in a natty marketing moniker: the advanced ATM Multiservice Portfolio -- or AAMP.

YAA (yet another acronym) notwithstanding, this is a highly significant move by Cisco in an increasingly significant market. In today’s capex-constrained environment, big carriers like Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON) and WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM) are facing a trio of problems.

First, their networks are based on Olde School ATM. Second, they need to cut costs by sweating their existing network infrastructure (even if it is based on a technology designed when Reagan was president). Third, they have to find a way to generate new revenues.

Multiservice switching products, like those in Cisco’s AAAAAAMP lineup, provide a solution by bringing ATM technology up to date. They feature denser, easier to manage hardware -- reducing capex and opex expenditure -- and they allow carriers to roll out new, revenue-generating IP services via support for Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS).

Cisco introduced three products today. The most important is the MGX 8950 multiservice switch, a successor to Cisco’s 8850 and BPX products (both of which came out of its acquisition of ATM vendor Stratacom). The platform is designed to deliver broadband ATM service in edge or core networks, and features more capacity (up to 240 Gbit/s, versus 45 Gbit/s for the 8850) plus a series of 10-Gbit/s line cards (the 8850 maxed out at 2.5 Gbit/s).

Cisco also announced the MGX 8830 multiservice switch, a much smaller device, designed with narrowband applications in mind, with 1.2 Gbit/s of capacity; and the Cisco Route Processor Module XF (RPM-XF), a card that can be plugged in to either ATM switch to provide an array of high-touch packet capabilities – including packet over Sonet (POS), gigabit Ethernet, and VPNs.

It also announced two AAMP customers today: Telecom Italia, and Mantanuska Telephone (which is based in Alaska, apparently).

Indeed, the trend to refurbish older ATM gear as a multiservice switch appears to be in full bloom (see The Great ATM Switch Blitz). Like Cisco, a number of other incumbents have rolled out new multiservice switches in the last few months -- including Alcatel Optronics (Nasdaq: ALAO; Paris: CGO.PA), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Marconi PLC (Nasdaq/London: MONI), and Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT).

A handful of startups also play in this space.

Light Reading will examine all of these offerings in more detail in the course of a Webinar running on May 30th. To register for this event, titled “Multiservice Switches: Future-Proofing the Public Network” please click here: www.lightreading.com/webinars.asp, and scroll down.

— Stephen Saunders, Founding Editor, Light Reading
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dodo 12/4/2012 | 10:23:49 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move how about

POP - point of presence
NSP- network service providers
scooby 12/4/2012 | 10:24:04 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move >> I think it begins with an N(ortel) and ends with a V(oip)(oAtm)(oFr)(o?)

You remind me of the BBC during wartime. "The fat man flys at midnight." What the heck kind of hyroglyphics are these?

Here's the bottom line for the English speakers: I'd be petrified if my largest sale of the year was my golf course, or my stock was trading below five bucks a share, and a company that spends more on R&D than the GDP of Brazil was breaking into my market. (If all three, I start studying German.)
scooby 12/4/2012 | 10:24:05 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move Market share, or market cap?
broadbandboy 12/4/2012 | 10:24:11 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move Iceman: Seems to me that having twelve 10Gbps slots = 120 Gbps of capacity.

Good point Ice, they have 120 Gbps of I/O, 240 Gbps of switching capacity. If they used router math, they could claim 240 Gbps of I/O as well!

It sounds like they can loose two switch fabrics and still carry the full load.

umustbejokin 12/4/2012 | 10:24:14 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move Rather than late to the market, how about missed the boat. Why is the world's market leader in routers have features like multiprotocol routing, IP routing, and MPLS routing suddenly announce new products that are multiservice switches? Could it be that the service provider market they so covet is telling them they cannot afford to support multiple networks to transport and switch/route multiple protocols anymore? What a concept! Who is the multiservice switch market leader? What are they selling to these customers that Cisco is not? I think it begins with an N(ortel) and ends with a V(oip)(oAtm)(oFr)(o?), not to mention VPNs(see recent Sprint announcement), VR(virtual routing), MPLS, ad nauseum. Guess what L3 bitheads, the horse is not only out of the barn, but over the hills and far away. Wake up time!
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 10:24:19 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move Cisco seems to be entering at the tail end of product introduction in most cases. Probably it does so that it does not have to spend money on product requirements and technology.

Many promineny vendors have preoducts on multiservice switch and Cisco does not stand a chance in the market place.

If Cisco wants to build only products that have been marketed by other companies, they should make #5ESS and sell it to RBOCS.
Ice Man 12/4/2012 | 10:24:23 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move How does having four 60Gbps fabrics (with 3:1 protection) equal 240Gbps of capacity?

Seems to me that having twelve 10Gbps slots = 120 Gbps of capacity.

Can anyone show us how this thing gets more than 120Gbps of capacity based on usable ports?
billyjoebob 12/4/2012 | 10:24:24 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move Are they shipping the OC192 blades. I don't see any mention of availability. Are they having problems with their home spun silicon for OC192?
opt_dhogan 12/4/2012 | 10:24:27 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move Government, defense, business, they are all bad when it comes to acronyms. But nothing is worse than my favorite:


Sound it out faaa-Q!
geof hollingsworth 12/4/2012 | 10:24:29 PM
re: Cisco Makes Multiservice Move It's no better in the financial community. It will come as a shock to anyone entering the communications market over the last couple of years, but companies used to be valued based on their ability to generate something called "earnings", a construct which apparently moved from endangered to extinct some time ago. There were many flavors of earnings, each invented as companies found it harder and harder to generate the previous version. We moved from EPS to EBIT (earnings before having to pay interest and taxes) to EBITDA (we don't want to count depreciation or amortization either) to EBITDAR (why should we have to count rent?). Finally, ina simplification move we arrived at EBBS (earnings before bad stuff), which was apparently definition Enron was using.
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