Upgraded Cisco Routers Aim High

Cisco's upgraded routers double core network capacity.

Cisco Systems Inc. is introducing new carrier-grade routers in its 12000 series to double the capacity of core networks, and it is unveiling upgrades to its 7600-series routers to support new high-bandwidth services.

The enhancements to the 7600 series will make it easier to deliver a wide range of high-reliability, enterprise-level services over one network, said Brendan Gibbs, senior manager of product management at the San Jose, Calif., manufacturer. By consolidating parallel networks built for ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), frame relay and IP services, carriers can reduce both capital and operating expenses, he said.

The upgrades include a new system processor called Supervisor Engine 720-3BXL, an enhanced WAN module that doubles service performance, and support for additional Layer 2 and Layer 3 MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) VPN and IPv6 services.

By focusing on service delivery at the edge of the network, providers will be better positioned to offer emerging services such as voice over IP, video and Ethernet VPN, Gibbs said.

The 7500 routers satisfied a large portion of Ciscos customer base, Gibbs said, but a subset sought higher bandwidth and additional performance. The enhanced 7600 routers will let service providers offer more varied levels of bandwidth with stronger service-level agreements.

"Reliability is going to be key. Were trying to help service providers craft the nonstop network," Gibbs said. "Instead of being locked into the SONET [Synchronous Optical Network]-type hierarchy, you can scale gracefully, starting at 10MB per second going up to a gigabit. Customers can get quality of service tied to that."

The new 12800 router will enable service providers to double the scale of their IP/MPLS networks without having to forgo investments already in place. It allows the merging of ATM and frame relay services with IP services, leading to reduced costs, said Suraj Shetty, senior manager of Routing Technology Group Marketing at Cisco.

"One of the strategies is to converge all this edge access and put it over the core. In the same box, you can do not only IP services but frame and ATM," Shetty said.

The new and upgraded routers will be available this month.