Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) still isn't announcing a 100-Gbit/s interface for its ASR 9000 edge router, but the company says it's going a step beyond that anyway, announcing today a card featuring 16 ports of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet. (See Cisco Beefs Up Edge Router.)

Obviously, that multiplies out to 160 Gbit/s. And since the card is available for trials today, Cisco is claiming bragging rights, at least for the moment, in what's become a contentious edge-router race to the next level of bandwidth.

The vendor also has customer names to go with its launch: Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CCOI) and Australia's Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) have committed to using the 160 Gbit/s linecard.

In addition to the high-density card, Cisco is reiterating its claim that the ASR 9000 is capable of carrying 400 Gbit/s per slot, a factor it still thinks will be critical as video traffic increases the bandwidth pressure on the network edge.

"Pretty much all the [other] platforms out there have a slot restriction of 50 Gbit/s," says Suraj Shetty, Cisco's vice president of service provider marketing.

That's true if you're talking about available linecards, but competitors say their routers have the capacity to handle more. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) says its 7750 Service Router can manage 100 Gbit/s per slot, and it plans to support that claim with a 100-Gbit/s linecard to be shipped in mid-2010, using the same network processors as the 50-Gbit/s cards do. (See AlcaLu Readies 100GigE Cards .)

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) has said a 100-Gbit/s card for the T1600 would start trials late this year. And Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. claims it will offer 100-Gbit/s Ethernet cards for the NE40E Universal Service Router in mid-2010 -- after the router actually starts shipping sometime this fall. Huawei also says the NE40E will eventually match Cisco's density of 400 Gbit/s per slot. (See Juniper Claims 100-Gig First and Huawei's Doing 100-Gig, Too.)

Cisco has not announced its plans for a 100-Gbit/s interface for the ASR line and doesn't intend to until it's got a customer to announce as well, Shetty says.

But what's more important is "what happens after 100 Gbit/s," according to Shetty: "We don't have to change the switch fabric [to get to 400 Gbit/s], and the backplane is built for 400 Gbit/s per show. Now it's the linecard electronics that need to catch up."

What Cisco is waiting for, according to numerous industry sources, is the NP4, a 100-Gbit/s network processor from EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH). (Neither Cisco nor EZchip has confirmed their relationship.) That chip is set to ship by the end of the year, EZchip CEO Eli Fruchter told Light Reading last month. (See Chipping Away at Cisco's ASR 9000.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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macster 12/5/2012 | 3:58:12 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge

"Obviously, that multiplies out to 160 Gbit/s."

1. How is this different to using two 8-port 10GigE cards on 2 slots on the ASR? (apart from using two slots, cost, blah blah blah)

2. Can we then say that the 40-port GigE card equates to a "40G interface"? :P


Mack the Knife

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:58:11 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge

It's probably not that different, but it's hard to tell what's truly novel with Cisco because the company is so good at packaging.

That said, don't underestimate cost. Using one slots vs. two is usually a big deal. Especially as it relates to the parking spaces near my office. (Damn SUVs.)

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:58:10 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge

> 1. How is this different to using two 8-port 10GigE cards on 2 slots on the ASR? (apart from using two slots, cost, blah blah blah)

ha!  I like your point, but yes, the difference is in the not-using-two-slots part.  All the router vendors are hot to show off density.

My guess is that with competitors having announced 100-gig cards, Cisco wants to show progress toward that "400 Gbit/s" per-slot figure.  AlcaLu is doing quite a PR job with the 7750, and they're getting a lot of credit for their technology.  Cisco might be feeling pressure to respond.

mr zippy 12/5/2012 | 3:58:04 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge

Is it really only 200Gbps per slot, or are they counting both directions and then adding them, as they've been in a habit of doing in the past?

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:57:59 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge

IIRC, Cisco is indeed double-counting the slot bandwidth, so we're talking about 200 Gbit/s without oversubscribing, as you described.

Huawei, on the other hand, is not double-counting; they're telling us they'll have slot capacity for four ports of 100 Gbit/s.

'Course, this is all on paper right now.  We'll see what they do with the routers next year.

^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 3:57:57 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge

Macster,  you are correct in your points...   

Also, I noted that nowhere does it say this is a single wide line card (1U).  It does not say.  So this card could take up 2 slots or 3 or?  So, is it 3U, 4U, or what is the line card size.  This would be interesting to see.  Not sure that this is actually a single slot card.  Might be, might not be.


gregsmit 12/5/2012 | 3:57:53 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge

As stated in the press release and shown in the video, the 16-port 10GE linecard announced yesterday consumes a single slot in the ASR 9000, with up to eight such cards per system, for an industry-leading 128 ports of 10GE in one platform. This 400G of capacity in each slot is actual one-way forwarding capacity, with bandwidth for up to 4x 100GE per slot; If you were to double-count for ingress + egress traffic, you would arrive at 800 Gbps per slot.

If you want to see the video that shows the card in action here is the link:


I hope this helps answer your questions.



Cisco Systems

Phil Morrison 12/5/2012 | 3:57:50 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge



Where do you get the 400Gig/slot or let alone 200Gig/slot? The specs on the ASR9K-RSP-4G that has the switch fabric are as follows:

Phil Morrison 12/5/2012 | 3:57:50 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge

Hi Greg,


Actually your response to the question isn't very clear.  You talk about the 16 port 10GigE linecard and then state that the 400G of capacity in each slot is actually one way forwardind capacity.

The question I have is does a "single" RSP in the ASR9K currently support 400Gig traces per slot (or 800Gbps of ingress+egress per slot)?  The answer to the question is that it doesn't as these are the existing spec's for your current RSP-4G:





Route switch processor, bidirectional nonblocking fabric, controller, 4-GB memory, 40-GB hard drive; includes
the following:

<div class="pCellBulletCMT">&bull; Switch fabric</div>

<div class="pCellBulletIndentCMT">&bull; Integrated dual switch fabric for full-duplex 180-GB per-slot capacity</div>
<div class="pCellBulletIndentCMT">
<div class="pCellBulletIndentCMT">"400Gig per slot, doesn't seem feasible with the linecards and RSPs you currently have"</div>
<div class="pCellBulletIndentCMT">


andrew.vaz 12/5/2012 | 3:57:48 PM
re: Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge Hi Phil,
You are correct that the current RSP (ASR9K-RSP-4G) will get you to full duplex 180-GB per slot capacity. An RSP change will enable you to get to 400Gb/slot full duplex. The current chassis have been tested from a power/cooling/signal integrity perspective to enable this 400Gb/slot full duplex number. No fork lift upgrade required on the ASR 9000 for quite some time. I hope this helps clarify what the RSP and the chassis are capable of.
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