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Cisco Expands High-End Router Line

Cisco Systems, Inc. , officials announced Tuesday the expansion of its next generation Internet routing product line with an upgrade to its popular 12000-series routers and the rollout of a new, metro IP access router.

Both are expected to increase the hardware manufacturer's market reach in the Internet service provider (ISP) and carrier communities as they look for ways to incorporate value-add services like IP local area networking (LAN) and voice over IP (VoIP) to their service offerings.

Officials say the Cisco 10720 router is the first Internet-class metro IP access router of its kind, doubling the bandwidth output of typical synchronous optical network (SONET) architectures. What officials expect will make the router so palatable to service providers is its scalability and edge capabilities.

By placing routers on the edge, as opposed to directly on the network, ISPs and carriers are able to free up a lot of bandwidth.

In this day and age, with more and more customers coming online with broadband connections like cable and digital subscriber line (DSL), service providers are looking for ways to provide high-end applications like video services without putting a large dent in their pocketbook.

Using its own patented dynamic packet transport (DPT) ring technology, the 10720 router is expected to cut down on network costs for ISPs and carriers by reducing the amount of bandwidth needed to provide Internet services to its customer base. By putting the router on the edge, providers avoid bottlenecks in their bandwidth pipe when customers try to download bandwidth-hungry services.

It's a slight twist from the industry norm of providing Ethernet services via layer 2 networking, which uses a local area network (LAN) to interconnect a network. Instead, one of Cisco's 13,000+ ports delivers DPT packets from the wide area network (WAN) to the metro area.

Ebone, a European carrier, expects the demand for metropolitan services to increase in the coming years, and has upgraded its own network to incorporate the new router, according to Frode Greisen, Ebone vice president and chief Internet officer.

"We see the metro market as the next frontier, a critical area for us in meeting the exploding demand by our customers for delivering scalable Internet services simply, reliably, and cost effectively," Frode said. "Cisco's Metro IP solution allows us to roll out services quickly for just-in-time provisioning. Being able to offer Ethernet-based Internet services allows us to address migration from LAN-to-LAN and frame relay to a higher speed service."

Pricing for the 10720 router starts at $43,000.

On the other end of the spectrum you have the Cisco 12404 router, the latest (and smallest) addition to the 12400 family of routers.

The router makes it easier for smaller ISPs to take advantage of 10Gbps Ethernet-like Internet services for its customers. It's similar to other 12400 series routers and easily configures with the other routers for network expansion down the road, making it the logical first step in a network build.

Expansion to the 12000 series IP Services Engine (ISE) line cards, Cisco officials said, will boost performance by a factor of two while reducing rack space. What makes it so attractive is its plug-and-play ability to fit into the chassis of existing 12000 series routers.

With it, ISPs and carriers can offer small to large POP ne

Deb Mielke, Treillage Network Strategies, Inc., principal, said the line cards are an immediate boost to its existing IP network that differentiates her company from the competition.

"By continuing to offer the most innovative and highest performance products it preserves customers' investments and commitment to the 12000 Series," Mielke said. "The Cisco 12400 family routers are the only 10Gbps routers to deliver simple, low-cost field upgrades to higher switching capacities, enabling customers to reduce their capital and operational expenses. The opportunity to shift these savings into expanding their networks and services is critical to (Cisco's) business.