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Cisco Overhauls Router Line To Improve VoIP, Security

New modules for the 7200 promise performance improvements for aggregation of services such as security and VoIP from branch offices, and the router line now scales up to OC-3/Gigabit Ethernet speeds.
Cisco Systems on Monday at Interop Las Vegas 2006 is expanding its integrated services story with a revamp of its 7200-series routers.

The overhaul includes new network processing and VPN modules for the 7200 that promise performance improvements for aggregation of services such as security and VoIP from branch offices.

The 7200 now scales up to OC-3/Gigabit Ethernet speeds. Priced at $19,000, the new 7200 VXR Network Processing Engine-G2 offers a two-times performance boost over its predecessor for service performance, while the new 7200 VXR VPN Service Adapter, priced at $15,000, brings a three-times performance increase for IPSec VPN services.

The updates follow the highly successful launch of Cisco’s Integrated Services Router (ISR) platform of branch office access routers that tie in optional security, VoIP and wireless services. Solution providers commonly deploy 7200 series routers as an aggregation point in the data center for ISRs.

Cisco plans to disclose this week that it has sold over one million ISRs since launching the line in September 2004.

Now that many customers have upgraded the network edge with ISRs, they are turning to the core and looking to upgrade their 7200s, said John Growdon, director of routers and switches for worldwide channels at Cisco, San Jose, Calif. Cisco estimates that there are 330,000 7200-series routers currently deployed worldwide, creating a significant upgrade opportunity for partners, he said.

To spur that opportunity, Cisco is also rolling out end-user and channel partner trade-in rebates through its Foundation Advantage for Channel Partners incentive program. On the new VXR Network Processing Engine-G2, for example, customers can receive trade-in credits of $800 to $4,000, while partners can receive $120 to $600, Growdon said.

The customer and partner trade-in rebates on the modules make them an enticing upgrade option, said Ethan Simmons, partner at NetTeks Technology Consultants, a Boston solution provider.

“It comes at a good time because we’re seeing some Juniper resellers going after that base,” Simmons said. “Now you can’t just forklift and go with Juniper when Cisco is making it so attractive to keep the 7200s in place.”

Cisco is also launching an upgrade to its Internetworking Operating System that adds an MPLS diagnostics tool and secure IP multicast capabilities, as well as a new 7200 Port Adapter Jacket Card that adds more slot capacity to increase the bandwidth of the chassis. The jacket card is available now for $1,250.

In addition, Cisco has also built new services aggregation architecture guides that walk channel partners through implementation to help decrease deployment times. The best-practices documents are available for five networking environments and are available online.