Taking Routing to the Edge

Aggregation or aggravation? If you're Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), the industry's preeminent edge router vendor, then you're all too familiar with both.

As the alpha male of the pack – with about 74 percent of the $924 million in edge routers sold in North American in 2001 – Cisco knows the business of IP traffic aggregation better than anyone.

But the 800-pound gorilla of the router industry is rapidly becoming acquainted with the aggravation factor, as well, as an army of companies looks to steal the edge router market out from under it.

Dynamic Table: Edge Router Vendors

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The arrival of so many new players has caused a great deal of confusion about the edge routing market – with seemingly as many opinions about what makes a good edge router as there are vendors making them.

The following report attempts to clear up the confusion by providing overviews of both the edge router market and edge router technology, and then drilling down to examine the following issues in more detail:

  • Who’s playing in this market (and who’s got a shot of making it big)

  • What edge routers are – and what they are not. (Hint: They’re not multiservice switches or MPLS switches)

  • How edge routers save money using new, smaller “high touch” form factors that are optimized to aggregate heterogeneous traffic at the edge of the network

  • How edge routers can convert capacity in the core into hard currency via state-of-the-art technologies such as virtual routing and differentiated services

Feel free to read the article sequentially, or use the links below to jump to the specific information you need.

Hot! Hot! Hot!
Edge routers have remained relatively immune to the capex crisis, and the market continues to grow.

Public Players
Cisco dominates, but Juniper, Riverstone, and Unisphere are coming up fast, and new entrants are cropping up.

The Startup Scene
Analysts differ among themselves, but many feel a shakeout is inevitable in this crowded space.

Complicated Technology
Or, at least, complicated marketing claims make comparison shopping tricky. We're here to help.

What They Ain't
Be they neither multiservice switches nor MPLS switches.

History Lesson
The Edge has always been with us – but it's gone through some changes.

Critical Features List
Some of the key criteria carriers may want to take into consideration when shopping on the edge.

It’s the Services, Stupid!
Where the money is.

— Jim Carr and Stephen Saunders, Founding Editor, Light Reading

Jim Carr is an Aptos, Calif., freelance business and technology writer. He can be reached at

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nemo 12/4/2012 | 10:32:10 PM
re: Taking Routing to the Edge One minor correction: the Laurel Networks router is called the ST-200 (two hundred), not ST-2000.

HFSeer 12/4/2012 | 10:30:35 PM
re: Taking Routing to the Edge Motorola? Please! If you're going to
count the BSR64000 CMTS as an edge router,
then you'd better include Arris (Cadant
acquisistion) and ADC (Broadband Access Systems
acquisition). At least they have sold boxes...
Mike Lazar 12/4/2012 | 10:22:50 PM
re: Taking Routing to the Edge
As a recruiter, I have dealt with this company almost from its inception in 1999. I am kind of curious about the current state of the company as this company's internal happening sounds like a grand soap opera worthy of most convoluted plot award.

In 2000, I dealt with Shankar rao, and I think, Sumesh (?) in software. By the end of 2000 - I was told they are no longer there as a result of some internal power politics. The in 2001, I dealt with Raghu in software , Ning in Hardware and Alex Hanthworne in marketing. I checked back a couple of days ago, and I am told that these guys are also no longer here. It looks like there is a yearly bout to out one another from the company, and no body seems to last above one year. I have never seen any other example of more self defeating start up. Does any one know if they have a product or what is happening inside, and why management keep playing revolving chair? I need to advice a client of mine.

jamesbond 12/4/2012 | 10:22:47 PM
re: Taking Routing to the Edge Let me tell you my friend's experience. He interviewed there recently. I don't know the names but following demonstrates the quality of the folks there -

One guy argued with my friend that when a forwarding table has two entries and
and if the router receives a packet with ip
dest, longest prefix match should
yield <> entry as a result!

Further he claimed that the manager wasn't aware of RFC 1812! How can a company supposedly building a router not know about
rfc 1812? What are the QA folks testing software

seeker 12/4/2012 | 10:21:00 PM
re: Taking Routing to the Edge Corona is a joke really. I interviewed at Corona last year and the quality of the people there is less than average. One of the architect there was fresh out of college and spent couple of years doing testing at Broadwing. I know one thing, in term of IP, these guys don't have a clue.
telecom 12/4/2012 | 10:20:49 PM
re: Taking Routing to the Edge I would be surprised if the company is what you describe after 3 years or so in existence. I think they do have a product.

I also talked with these guys. Some of them I talked to are nice folks. Startups typically have internal politics especially if it is Indian/Chinese executive company.

I found it strange they could have some routing/mpls director who would not even listen while talking to people. Listening is an important attribute of a succesful manager. You don't have unilateral opinions especially if you are PhD from university with no real software development experience. He is probably are not qualified to be a manager/director of a software project though with the level of experience I have that would be a rash generalization .But this guy came across to me as some one who should not be development team leader. He is more suited to write papaers and argue with fellow theoretical friends.
John Casper 12/4/2012 | 10:18:59 PM
re: Taking Routing to the Edge Hey telecom, I am very surprised with your comments because I have known their protocol group software director for quite some time- he is one of the best guys to manage a team in the industry (undoubtedly, there are others too). As an old friend, I have to say that he is clear headed, very knowledgeble in the networking area, and great fun to work with.

I used to work with him several years go, and he wrote some of the best code in the company so I don't know how did you get your impression. I still keep the C++ object code library for network socket programming, he wrote way back in early 90 one of our company's products. I think your impression is based on short meeting in which people may or may not be in their best mood. Also, remember many smart people specially with Ph.Ds come out very opiniated at first, until you know them a bit more intimately. Undoubtely, every one can do a bit more by being a better listener. I hope he will see this mail.

Any way, coming back to Corona - you are right they have a well engineered product, and I believe, if the company can keep its current engineering team intact unlike previous years management in-fighting, and be somewhat lucky, they have a good shot to be a contender in the edge routing, IP services industry.
George Lucas 12/4/2012 | 10:18:57 PM
re: Taking Routing to the Edge telecom, from you message it appears that you interviewed there, and didn't get the job. I wud say try again. for the next time remember, that generally smarter and busy people don't have patience and time to listen to long circuitous stories, instead they like precise and summarized information. time management is the key of their high productivity and focussed approach to the management. as per my experience, dumber the manager more detailed response he would expect since he needs to comepensate lower intelligence with more words, more lengthy reports and more repeatitive meetings.
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