February 01, 2001, 10:32 AM — A year after its closest competitor, Cisco Systems Inc. at the ComNet trade show
said it will ship 10G bps capabilities for its Internet core routers in March.
Cisco's re-announcement of an OC-192c line card and a 320G bps switch fabric
for its 16-slot 12016 Gigabit Switch Router is a virtual recycle of the original
announcement of the 160G bps 12016 in December 1999. What's interesting this
time around, however, is what Cisco did not talk about: its strategy for scaling
to terabit routing and the fact that these new products are up to nine months
The new 320G bps switch fabric transforms the 12016 into what Cisco now calls
the 12416. The switch fabric allows the 12016 - or 12416 - to run new 10G bps
single-port OC-192c and four-port OC-48c packet-over-SONET line cards.
This is the same information Cisco provided almost 14 months ago, when it announced
the 12016. At that time, Cisco said the OC-192c blades would see wide deployment
in the second half of 2000.
What really is new from last week's announcement is a 10-slot, 200G bps version
of the GSR, called the 12410. This is a lower-density, 10G bps-capable router
that takes up half a telco rack, as opposed to the 12416/12016, which takes
up a full rack.
Cisco's OC-192c interface will appear a year after rival Juniper Networks shipped
its first OC-192c blades for the M160 platform. Those products have been well
accepted by service providers, despite a packet misordering situation that occurs
with very large flows.
As a result, Juniper has steadily taken Internet core router market share from
Cisco and owned 30 percent of the market in the third quarter of 2000, according
to the Dell'Oro Group. Cisco owns 69 percent, according to Dell'Oro.
Cisco hopes to gain back some momentum with the 12400 series rollout, because
the chassis can hold almost twice as many OC-192c and OC-48c ports as the Juniper
device. Cisco also is emphasizing that the distributed system architecture of
the 12400 series will maintain packet sequence integrity under all conditions,
a guarantee Juniper cannot make when flows exceed 300M byte/sec - which they
rarely, if ever, do - with its OC-192c-capable, eight-slot M160 router.
Juniper is rumored to be developing a new router - perhaps called the M320
- that will increase OC-192c port density and alleviate the packet reordering
situation. Juniper does not comment on products that are not shipping.
Cisco also plays up the investment protection inherent in a 12000-to-12400
upgrade. Users with an installed base of 12016 chassis need only replace switch
fabrics to gain 320G bps of capacity. Chassis, line cards and software remain
the same, and OC-192c ports can be added as needed.