Cisco on Tuesday announced a new router that pushes the envelope of networking technology in the "zettabyte era."
The Cisco Aggregation Services Router 9000 Series, or ASR 9000, is designed to deliver a massive-scale, nonstop video experience and a reduced carbon footprint. With its latest router, Cisco is promising to increase the speed, longevity, services, richness and efficiency of the network edge. The product seeks to answer the demand spurred by the massive spike in video and data traffic across wired, cable and mobile networks.
"The Cisco ASR 9000 offers service providers tremendous scalability and a services-optimized architecture that truly sets a new benchmark in the industry for carrier Ethernet systems for the zettabyte era," said Pankaj Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's service provider technology group. This platform, he continued, will be used as the foundation for video and mobility data growth and has been specifically optimized to deliver video and rich media.
Cisco Predicts Skyrocketing Traffic
Cisco is basing its investment on heavy market research. Specifically, the Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast and Methodology, 2007-2012 report points to IP networking trends driven largely by the increase of video and Web 2.0 social-networking and business-collaboration applications.
Cisco predicts IP traffic will nearly double every two years, increasing at a combined annual growth rate of 46 percent from 2007 to 2012. That growth would result in an annual bandwidth demand on the world's IP networks of approximately 522 exabytes, or more than half a zettabyte. This demand on networks is equivalent to downloading 125 billion DVD movies per month.
"Interactive video is coming, and a seamless high-speed network is being built to deliver it," said Zeus Kerravala, a vice president at the Yankee Group. "In order to build it, you need products like the ASR 9000. This really is a leap when it comes to routing, and it's another case where Cisco is going to catch this market transition to 'video everywhere' and maintain its leadership position in routing."
ASR 9000 Innovations
The 10- and six-slot Cisco ASR 9000 offers a series of new hardware and software innovations to deliver visual networking in the "zettabyte era." Those innovations include scale, reduced total cost of ownership for mobility services, and enhanced edge services, according to Cisco.
On the scalability front, the Cisco ASR 9000 offers up to six times the capacity of comparable edge-router solutions, with up to 6.4 terabits per second of total capacity and up to four times the line-card speed available on the market, with 400 gigabits per slot.
The ASR 9000 incorporates the Cisco Advanced Video Services Module, which allows for terabytes of streaming capacity at the aggregation edge, while simultaneously offering content caching, ad insertion, fast-channel change, and error correction. This eliminates the need for stand-alone content-delivery network elements and moves content sourcing closer to the consumer.
Kerravala expects a fight between the telcos and the network operators over who will control the online video front. The money will be spent. The question, as he sees it, is this: Does Cisco take time in this down economy to stretch its lead so it becomes one of only a handful of viable companies to provide this service when spending picks up?
"Most of the talk around Nortel is about what product stays and what product goes," Kerravala said. "No one is asking Cisco which products they are going to sell off. While the downturn isn't good for anybody and the stock is getting beat up, it presents a really interesting opportunity for Cisco to do things its competition can't do right now."
Pricing for the ASR 9000 system begins near $80,000, with availability planned for the first quarter of 2009.
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