Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is all over the news map this morning, as it has four big routing announcements involving its flagship core router, the CRS-1. The company has revealed some CRS-1 customers, a partnership with Fujitsu, a strategic answer to Juniper Networks Inc.'s (Nasdaq: JNPR) Infranet Initiative, and its long-awaited half-sized version of the CRS-1. Here are the details on each development:
  • Cisco is finally naming some users of the CRS-1, after much speculation by analysts (see Cisco Stumps for CRS-1).

    The marquee name is Softbank, which is "going through a massive deployment of CRS-1s" for its YahooBB service, says Suraj Shetty, director of marketing for Cisco's routing technology group. Cisco won't give specifics, but Shetty says the number of chassis being used here is in the "strong double digits." The deployment has already begun and will be done in "months, not years," he says.

    That's the only solid telecom deployment Cisco is citing. The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) is another customer being announced today, noteworthy because it is using the OC768 interfaces -- which, incidentally, performed quite well in a recent test sponsored by Light Reading (see 40-Gig Router Test Results).

    Other CRS-1 customers being announced are Japan's National Institute of Informatics and Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI), the latter being just a trial customer.

  • Cisco has also set up a partnership with Fujitsu Ltd. (OTC: FJTSY; Tokyo: 6702) for high-end routing in Japan. The CRS-1 essentially becomes part of the Fujitsu roadmap, as the company will be pitching it as a next-generation cog for high-end customers. While similar to core router reseller agreements, such as the Nortel arrangement with Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7), the Fujitsu-Cisco partnership appears to be unique because Fujitsu is a router vendor itself and has been pitching a different company's routers for the core in Japan.

  • Cisco is also launching a program that sounds more than a little similar to Juniper's Infranet Initiative. But Cisco officials insist they're hunting bigger game than Juniper is.

    Cisco's "IP NGN" project -- letters standing for Internet Protocol (IP) Next-Generation Network -- is getting formally launched today. The idea is to create a network that responds to what the user is doing, in hopes of creating more loyalty among service provider customers.

    IP NGN is part of Cisco's ongoing effort to be taken more seriously in telecom circles. Most aspects of the company's CRS-1 core router, including the IOS XR modular operating system, are intended to curry favor with service providers. "Almost 50 percent of our R&D is going toward service provider development," says Cisco's Shetty.

    Identity is a key piece of IP NGN. The network would be able to recognize a user as he shifted from cell phone to PDA to office-bound LAN connection, and would likewise alter quality of service (QOS) and other parameters depending on the application being run. Voice and video traffic would receive priority over delay-insensitive data traffic, for example. "The network would provide resources to the users on demand," like a "customized tollway," Shetty says.

    Partly, the goal is to engender user loyalty. But the IP NGN would also let carriers offer premium services to customers based on their usage patterns, creating new possibilities for generating revenues.

    Cisco tipped its hand in this area with the acquisition of P-Cube, which developed deep packet inspection systems for distinguishing traffic content on the fly. In fact, Cisco is using P-Cube's Service Control Engine line of appliances as examples of what the IP NGN is trying to do (see Cisco Plucks P-Cube for $200M and Cisco Reroutes Traffic Management).

    It all sounds an awful lot like what Juniper is describing with its Infranet. But Cisco insists the Infranet is a subset of what the IP NGN would accomplish.

    "The way we understand it, the Infranet is about building QOS for inter-service-provider networking," Shetty says. "It doesn't talk about how a voice call is connected [when dealing with different providers' networks] or how the video is done."

    Cisco also stresses that it doesn't plan to create a forum similar to Juniper's Infranet Initiative Council; rather, Cisco intends to push its ideas through standards bodies, namely the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS).

  • Finally, as expected, Cisco is announcing a half-sized version of the CRS-1 today (Sources: Cisco Building 'Son of HFR'). The system is an eight-slot chassis, compared with the 16-slot CRS-1, for a throughput of 320 Gbit/s (that's not counting ingress and egress traffic separately). The strategy mimics what Avici and Juniper have done, offering smaller sizes of router to appeal to a wider audience (see Sources: Cisco Building 'Son of HFR', Avici's Incredible Shrinking Router, and Juniper Shrinks Its SuperCore Router).

    The half-sized CRS-1 can be connected in multichassis configurations just as the full CRS-1 can, giving Cisco more options in competing against other multichassis offerings like the Avici TSR or the recently launched Juniper TX Matrix (see Juniper Unveils the TX).

    — Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

    On Thursday, December 9, at 12 noon New York / 9 a.m. California / 5 p.m. London time, during a free hour-long live Web seminar, representatives from Light Reading, EANTC, Agilent, and Cisco will present the results of the Light Reading CRS-1 test and answer questions about them. Telecom Italia will also be participating.

    To register for the December 9 Webinar click here.

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    AAL5 12/5/2012 | 12:59:20 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers myhui said "Can you point out details of tests you refer to?",

    The June 2004 Miercom testing. In the multicast/unicast tests OC-192 Unicast performace on the 640 dropped to 60.7%. The 640 also misordered 45% of the OC192 multicast traffic and 15% of the unicast.

    Architecturally the 640 is not suited for multicast applications.

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