Cisco Pushes 160-Gig at Edge
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