RealTime IT News

Big Routers Continue to Grow

As Internet usage continues to grow, so too does the need for the big core routers that power bandwidth growth. For networking giant Cisco, core routing comes in the form of its Huge Fast Router (HFR), the CRS-1 (Carrier Routing System) that debuted five years ago with 1.2 Tbps of throughput capacity.

Rival vendor, Juniper Network (NASDAQ:JNPR) has its own flagship core router, the T1600 which has 1.6 Tbps of throughput.

As the CRS-1 turns five this week, Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) is touting the fact it has shipped more than 3,200 units to more than 300 customers in more than 40 countries. Considering that the CRS-1 (depending on configuration) ranges in price from $500,000 to $1 million per router, Cisco's CRS-1 numbers are no small feat, in terms of revenues and deployments.

The growth of the big routing platforms comes as the service providers continue to face budget and bandwidth pressures on their networks. It's a far cry from what the market was saying in 2004 when the CRS-1 first came out.

"When we debuted the CRS-1 in 2004, there were a number of skeptics that thought that due to the immense power of the platform that no more than 50 units and no more than 5 customers would ever buy the unit," Doug Webster senior director of service provider marketing at Cisco told InternetNews.com. "Fast forward five years and we've been able to sell far more. In fact, there have been some weeks where we've shipped more than 50 units in a week."

For Juniper's T1600, adoption and growth has also been respectable. Juniper's Luc Ceuppens, vice president of product marketing in the high-end systems business unit, told InternetNews.com that 425 T1600's were sold in the first year of availability.

The need for the big routers from Juniper and Cisco is being driven by big needs from their service provider customers.

"The network itself has increased dramatically over the last five years with a more than eight times increase in traffic volumes," Cisco's Webster said. "The network today is different than it was five years ago and it will be different five years from now. But the CRS-1 is a platform we invested over a half billion [dollars] to create and over 800,000 hours of engineering time."

Webster added that the market has proved that there is a need for the capacity that a CRS-1 provides. Demand for mobility is also helping to drive demand for increased capacity in the network core. Webster noted that 3G/4G wireless services need a backbone transport and as carriers scale up their wireless deployments they need to scale up their core capacity as well.

Next page: Continued growth.