Cisco’s Surprise: the CRS-3

March 9th, 2010 by · 6 Comments

While I tried to stay out of it, the hype reached stratospheric levels over the last week in the runup to Cisco’s announcement.  What could Cisco possibly have been planning that could “forever change the Internet and its impact on consumers, businesses and government” yet somehow keep it secret this long?  Well, nothing really was going to fit the bill after the media got done speculating.  So what did they have to announce?  Precisely what everyone should have expected them to announce:  absolutely gigantic new routers to meet the challenge of the coming transition to video networking.

According to the new CRS-3 routers will scale to 12 times the capacity of the nearest competing system, up to 322 Tbps.  As that is enough to transfer the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress in just one second, I think we are going to need some larger benchmark data sets to measure this sort of thing.  According to Pankaj Patel:

The next generation Internet is upon us and we are confident that the Cisco CRS-3 will play a crucial role as service providers like AT&T deliver an exciting, new array of video, mobile, data center and cloud services. The Cisco CRS-3 is well positioned to carry on the tradition of the Cisco CRS-1, become the flagship router of the future and serves as the foundation for the world’s most intelligent and advanced broadband networks.

AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings) has been testing the system, including in a 100G test between Miami and New Orleans they themselves announced just today.  That field test parallels the one Verizon announced with Juniper and others just the other day, which was clearly a precisely timed PR.

Now, I’m actually quite pleased to see Cisco’s big news is its next generation router.  As for the other innovations included in the new series for enabling the cloud, lowering operating expenses and energy requirements, and new silicon to power it all – well, it sounds great of course, as all PR does.  I look forward to hearing how it works in the real world.

I also look forward to an internet that needs core routers capable of 322Tbps.

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6 Comments So Far

  • Justin says:

    Rob, can you help me understand what impacts this could have on the next gen carriers such as Q, LVLT, and GLBC? Not sure I fully understand this Cisco Router as the potential impacts…

    • Rob Powell says:

      I would say simply that it gives them more choices and tools with which to scale their networks for a number of years.

  • FAC says:

    Another view:

    The Reality Behind Cisco’s Router Hype
    Andy Greenberg | Forbes | 03.09.10

    The company’s new box is fast, but it doesn’t live up to the buzz.

    • Rob Powell says:

      I think that to match the buzz the CRS-3 would need to have artificial intelligence so advanced that during low traffic times it could on its own initiative make prank VoIP calls to Bin Laden’s satellite phone.

  • carlk says:

    Rob, I notice you don’t cover the cost aspect of this, at least from the quoted Chambers number standing at $1.6B? How fast does CSCO require paybacks on such a sum? How many routers and at what price point will accomplish that? How much capex, and opex will be added to a carrier’s previous history in order to take this bath, etc.?

    Seems like John, etal, spent a DEAR SUM to create this monster, at least if internal accounting is to be considered.

    Is this something that only AT&T and their customers will be able to afford?

  • carlk says:

    More objective color on CSCO’s John who was rambling on yesterday about $1.6B costs, as well as some pricing indications.

    You know Robert, if by some miracle Bin Laden is still alive, I’d rather CSCO blow his cell phone up right in his face with all this power they are touting in order to meet the BUZZ they attempted to CREATE before the official disappointing presentation which came across like an INFOMERCIAL for AT&T to ride on top of them with.

    The Cisco CRS-3 Carrier Routing System provides up to 322 Terabits per second of capacity, three times that of the networking giant’s current-generation CRS-1. The company claims service providers worldwide have deployed nearly 5,000 Cisco CRS-1s and that its cumulative investment in the CRS family is $1.6 billion.

    In addition to higher capacity, the CRS-3 also offers up to 60% savings on power consumption compared with competitors’ platforms, Cisco said. The CRS-3 is currently in field trials. Pricing starts at $90,000.

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