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Cisco's New ASR 9000 Routers Take It to the Edge

Wed, 06/08/2011 - 8:14am
Maisie Ramsay

This article has been updated with comment from Juniper Networks.

Cisco came out Tuesday with new routers and network technology that improves capacity at the edge of networks, where service is often the weakest.

Cisco, which recently shut down its Flip video camera business, is working to refocus on its core network gear businesses to better compete with rival infrastructure vendors like Juniper Networks.

The company's new ASR 9922 router is designed to beef up capacity at the edge of the network and the ASR 9000v fits in the network aggregation layer. The ASR 9000v is available immediately and the ASR 9922 will be available in the second half of next year.

"The Cisco ASR 9000 System is really in a class by itself," says Cisco marketing director Stephen Liu. "No competitor has anything close to the capabilities provided by the Cisco ASR 9000 System."

The ASR 9000 platform can handle 96 terabits per second. Cisco says the platform has 36 times more capacity than similar platforms developed by rivals Alcatel-Lucent and Juniper, outpacing even Juniper's MX960 router.

Juniper Networks took umbrage at Cisco’s claims that its ASR 9000 line performed faster than Juniper’s routers.

“Cisco has made claims about the ASR 9000 that they have not delivered against,” says Mike Marcellin, vice president of marketing and business strategy, Juniper Networks.

Marcellin says what Cisco has brought to market “has never surpassed Juniper’s MX3D in total system capacity or per slot capacity.  In fact, it currently is at 1/2 the total system capacity and 2/3 the slot capacity of the MX3D.” The MX3D is Juniper’s line of high-capacity edge routers.

Cisco says its routers' capacity gains are derived from Cisco's new network virtualization technology, which was announced in conjunction with the new routers. The technology allows Cisco's ASR 9000 routers to act as a system, allowing operators to manage the edge, aggregation and access layers of their network from a single centralized location.

Doug Webster, director of Strategic Communications for Cisco Systems worldwide service provider marketing group, compared the company's new nV network virtualization technology to how banks are able to manage remote ATM's.

"Like, say a bank with ATMs, all the intelligence resides centrally in the primary units but is able to service the needs of many different, disparate remote locations with the same high quality of experience," he wrote in a post on Cisco's official blog. "New software update? No problem - nV technology distributes it easily from the central location, preventing operators from having to individually update 1900 different ones."

Operators who already use Cisco's ASR 9000 line will be able to upgrade it with Cisco's nV technology.

The company already has several customers for the technology, including China Telecom, Cox Communications, Comcast and FastWeb. Verizon Wireless also uses Cisco's ASR 9000 routers.

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