Ethernet equipment

Cisco Shares Another Big Day

For the second time this year, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has managed to come out with a product release on the same day as a major Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) release.

With Juniper announcing its big-deal SRX platform today, Cisco has piped in with a handful of carrier Ethernet products to talk about. (See Juniper Strikes at Security's Core and Cisco Touts Carrier Ethernet.)

"Honestly, it's coincidence!" says Mike Capuano, senior director of marketing for Cisco's service provider segment.

A similar coincidence happened in January, when Juniper used a New York event to launch the EX line of Ethernet switches. By stunning coincidence, Cisco launched its Nexus platform one day earlier. (See Juniper Storms Into Ethernet Switching and Cisco's Nexus Targets Data Center's Future.)

So what is Cisco talking about?

A 40-Gbit/s card might lead the headlines, but the most interesting thing Cisco announced today is a service level agreement (SLA) -- more properly, an SLA for SLAs.

Formally called the Network Availability SLA, the plan means Cisco would pay penalties if its equipment causes a service provider's SLA to fail. Now, a vendor always pays some kind of penalty in those cases -- a wounded reputation, if not outright cash -- but Cisco wants it formalized, showing that it's putting money on the line.

(We'd call it SLA Insurance, but Cisco probably doesn't want any comparisons to AIG today.)

About that 40-Gbit/s card, though. It's called the ES+40, and it's for the Cisco 7600 -- which, Cisco notes, does have 40-Gbit/s per-slot capacity. Previous cards only took advantage of 20 Gbit/s of that.

The card includes optical transponders, so that Cisco is extending its IP-over-DWDM concept to the 7600. That idea, which removes the need for a transponder shelf, has been applied to the CRS-1 and the XR 12000 so far. (See Cisco's CRS-1 Goes Optical.)

Separately, Cisco beefed up capacity of its ME 4500 metro Ethernet boxes, and it's introducing an ME 3400 variant, the ME 3400E, intended for multidwelling units.

And Cisco has updating its MWR devices for wireless backhaul. The MWR 2941-DC takes in T1 lines from a cell site and feeds the traffic onto Ethernet fiber (not copper, at least not yet), helping shave some T1 leased-line prices from operators' budgets. (See Cisco Raises Ethernet Backhaul Stakes.) Capuano tells Light Reading that the MWR 2941-DC is, simply, "the industry’s most powerful cell site router.”

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:32:09 PM
re: Cisco Shares Another Big Day So as technology specs go, you'd say JNPR is leading and CSCO is following?
materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:32:09 PM
re: Cisco Shares Another Big Day I just finished the networkworld review of the Nexus, which dubs the device for having underpowered line cards. While the backplane sports a 1.6-ish Tbps capacity, only half that can get through the machine when populated with line cards. Newer cards are supposed to be available in 09. It sounds like the Nexus was pushed out the door early.
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:32:06 PM
re: Cisco Shares Another Big Day Very intersting, about the Nexus. I recall, too, that a lot of analysts were saying they'd expected it in February rather than January. Not that one month would make that much of a difference; if it was rushed, it'd still be rushed, if you follow me.

Tangentially ... new Nexus 1000V announced today:
mofahmi 12/5/2012 | 3:30:05 PM
re: Cisco Shares Another Big Day if I read cisco web and JNPR Web site,
JNPR EX series just a box of switch,
Nexus is more than a switch, it has unified fabric with lossless capability that designed for FC and Ethernet,

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:30:04 PM
re: Cisco Shares Another Big Day Yes, they're totally different products, and you can argue that Nexus is more important to the industry...

... but you still have to wonder about Cisco taking a product that, according to multiple sources, was slated for February release, and suddenly launching it on the very week that Juniper was making its biggest announcement in years.

And then Cisco did it again, but didn't have a big product ready to announce this time around. To be fair, nearly everybody announced something this past September... but Cisco's launch seemd to get put together very suddenly.
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