Cisco Boosts Bandwidth Play With CRS-3 Intro - InformationWeek
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3/9/2010
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Alexander Wolfe
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Cisco Boosts Bandwidth Play With CRS-3 Intro

Cisco took its bandwidth strategy to the next level on Tuesday, unveiling an ultra-high-capacity carrier routing system. The CRS-3 product announcement culminates several weeks of hype, during which Cisco teased it as news which would "change the Internet forever." In reality, it's a smart, incremental move intended to position Cisco as the go-to bandwidth provider.

Cisco took its bandwidth strategy to the next level on Tuesday, unveiling an ultra-high-capacity carrier routing system. The CRS-3 product announcement culminates several weeks of hype, during which Cisco teased it as news which would "change the Internet forever." In reality, it's a smart, incremental move intended to position Cisco as the go-to bandwidth provider.I'm live-blogging Cisco's Webcast of the CRS-3 router announcement. So here's the basic news, via the Cisco press release:

"Cisco today announced a major advancement in Internet networking - the Cisco® CRS-3 Carrier Routing System (CRS) - designed to serve as the foundation of the next-generation Internet and set the pace for the astonishing growth of video transmission, mobile devices and new online services through this decade and beyond.

With more than 12 times the traffic capacity of the nearest competing system, the Cisco CRS-3 is designed to transform the broadband communication and entertainment industry by accelerating the delivery of compelling new experiences for consumers, new revenue opportunities for service providers, and new ways to collaborate in the workplace."

What this is in reality is a higher capacity router, which, as the release notes, triples the capacity of its CRS-1 predecessor, to 322 terabits per second. This enables Cisco to correctly note that the switch is ideal for delivering video, as well as supporting cloud computing.

That two-fer marketing message--business and consumer in the same breath (since video is as much as consumer play as it is a workplace medium)--is consistent with my long-time take on Cisco.

As I put in Cisco Video Thrust Telegraphs Bandwidth-Bandit Strategy: "I think this blurring of the line between corporate and consumer networks will be something that all networking vendors will have to navigate in the coming few years. In this regard, Cisco is seemingly pacing the pack."

Webcast Bits:

Here are some quotes from the Tuesday morning Cisco 'cast:

  • Cisco chairman Chambers: "Video is the killer app." (Hey, they bought Flip maker Pure Digital as a video BW play.)

  • Keith Cambron, prez of AT&T Labs, says AT&T carries 19 petabytes of video data every business day.

  • Chambers on #Cisco: "[We're] moving from being a plumber to how we deliver a whole new generation of business models."

  • Chambers talked about how he sees college students using Flip cameras to create stuff for classes. This leads into the meme of colleges becoming increasingly big users of BW, and thus needing to buy more switches. From Cisco.

  • AT&T's Cambron talked about how AT&T's enterprise customers are increasing their use of video, and therefore switches like this are important because they enable AT&T to "seemlessly support" video. On the competitive front, Cambron seems to give a nod toward the Cisco video-switching approach becoming a standard; it's hard to know whether this is an off-the-cuff remark, or if he's indicating some serious affinity for Cisco's switches.

  • Chambers again: "We love anybody who loads networks.. .I love Google. . .But it does require the ability [to intelligently manage the switch so you deliver proper response times]."

  • Cisco's Pankaj Patel, general manager of the company's Service Provider Group, talks importance of Cisco designing their own ASICs (semiconductors) for the switch. I've heard same from Juniper. This is network companies noting their chip-architecture skills as a competitive differentiator. (I've also always felt that they feel most people don't understand they do this. Average person in street thinks chips equals PCs, I guess.)

    Stay tuned; we will have more coverage of the news on InformationWeek and NetworkComputing today.

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    Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.

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