Business

New Cisco routers promise speed, capacity

Posted March 9, 2010 1:04 p.m. EST

— Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), the company that provides much of the world’s Internet infrastructure, on Tuesday rolled out what the networking giant’s CEO calls the “brains of the new Internet.”

In a live global Web conference, Cisco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Chambers introduced the CRS-3 routers that Chambers said provide the capacity to transform the Internet.

“While it’s not exciting to the general consumer,” Chambers said, the new routers represent “the future of the Internet.”

“Is this transforming the Internet,” he asked in the presentation. “Absolutely.”

Cisco, which said it invested more than $1 billion in developing the new gear, described the new router’s 322 Terabits-per-second capacity this way:

  • It could download the printed collection of the Library of Congress “in just over one second”
  • Allow “every man, woman and child in China to make a video call, simultaneously”
  • Allow “every motion picture ever created to be streamed in less than four minutes”

The Cisco announcement had been hyped extensively by Cisco as an “adrenaline” rush for the Net. But the company didn’t announce a new broadband network initiative similar to the “ultrafast” network announced last month by Google.

However, Cisco did include Keith Cambron, the top executive at AT&T Labs, in the announcement. Cambron said that the telecommunications firm had been experimenting with the new Cisco routers in what the companies said were the first field trials at 100 gigabit speeds.

The routers are designed to enable faster delivery of video and other data to not only enterprise networks but also mobile devices and for home use, the executives said.

The new routers are being field tested and will start at $90,000 each.

Saying the new routers boast 12 times the capacity of current gear, Chambers said such capability will “bring the Internet to life.”

“It’s about the media experience,” he explained, noting that faster speed will boost health care and other applications in addition to entertainment.

“Video is the killer app,” Chambers stressed. The new routers are “the foundation for the next generation Internet.”

The Internet has evolved from a messaging network to one of collaboration, he said.

The emergence of “cloud computing” – the sharing of computing services on demand – and virtualization – the enabling of devices to support multiple operating systems – also will be enhanced by the new gear since it can support so much more bandwidth demand, Chambers added

“It’s about the next generation of productivity,” Chambers said..

The new equipment is not just about speed in the “pipes” as Chambers described network backbone connections but also scale, flexibility and the ability to replicate information.

The announcement had little immediate impact on Cisco shares, which opened at $26.13 Tuesday morning. They traded at $25.97, down 16 cents in noon trading.

Cisco set a 52-week high of $26.34 Monday amid speculation about what Chambers would announce.

Cisco employs some 4,300 people at its RTP campus.