Cisco Ethernet Cards Will Exceed 100Gb Capacity

Cisco is outlining plans for interface cards for its ASR 9000 Ethernet edge routers that will exceed 100 gigabit-per-second capacity. The move comes just weeks after rivals Alcatel-Lucent and Juniper Networks rolled out their own plans for 100GbE line cards. The demand for more bandwidth is coming from the rapid growth of video traffic and the use of the mobile Internet.

Just weeks after rivals Juniper Networks and Alcatel-Lucent outlined plans for 100 Gigabit Ethernet interface cards, Cisco Systems is going one better.

Cisco officials Aug. 25 unveiled plans for new interface cards for its ASR 9000 Series edge routers that will bring the per-slot density to more than 100 gigabits per second.

The vendor is rolling out 16 10GbE line cards to a router family that is designed to scale to 400Gb per second.

The new line cards, which will be available later this year, is the latest "step toward the reaching of the 400 gigabit capacity" of the ASR 9000, Praveen Akkiraju, vice president and general manager of service provider marketing at Cisco, said in an interview.

The rapid increase in video network traffic and the growing use of the mobile Internet are key drivers in the need to increase network bandwidth. Cisco officials throughout the year have said video will continue being a key feature in network traffic over the next few years, with video-including TV, video on demand, Internet video and peer-to-peer video-accounting for more than 90 percent of all consumer network traffic by 2013, putting a huge demand on service providers' capabilities.

"Video is going to be the lynchpin," Akkiraju said.

Alcatel-Lucent jumped into the 100GbE race in July with plans for 100GbE line cards for the network core, edge of networks and metro networks. The company also said it was introducing new 10-port 10GbE line cards for service providers that need greater density than 10GbE, but aren't ready for 100GbE. Alcatel-Lucent expects to begin shipping the cards by the summer of 2010.

That move came a month after Juniper introduced plans for its first 100GbE line cards for its MX 960 Ethernet router.

Cisco officials pointed to such differentiators in its ASR 9000 routers, which were rolled out in November 2008, as the vendor's Quantum Flow Processor and its IOS XR operating software, as well as module pay-as-you-grow power supplies.

Cisco officials also announced Aug. 25 that Australian communications company Telstra is using the ASR 9000 Series as its Ethernet platform for running network-intensive applications, including video.