Cisco's Giant New Box Promises To Give Internet Room To Grow

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News Posted: Tue, Mar 9 2010 12:28 PM
Promising to change the Internet as we know it? Far too many companiessay this without any real meaning behind it, but Cisco might actuallyhave something that could truly revolutionize the way we enjoy theworld wide web. But as with most things that have a Cisco label, itwill basically all be done behind the scenes. The CRS-3 Carrier RoutingSystem was introduced today by the company, and it's supposedly"designed to serve as the foundation of the next-generation Internetand set the pace for the astonishing growth of video transmission,mobile devices and new online services through this decade and beyond."

Those are some pretty bold words, but Cisco's new solution has over 12xthe traffic capacity of the nearest competing system. It can handle upto 322 Terabits per second, which enables the entire printed collectionofthe Library of Congress to be downloaded in just over one second; everyman, woman and child in China to make a video call, simultaneously; andevery motion picture ever created to be streamed in less than fourminutes. A lot of this probably feels foreign to you, and honestly, the$90,000 (and up) system isn't that interesting by itself. However,having the ability to handle what now feels like an infinite amount ofdata is crucial for the growth and survival of the Internet. Web TValone has caused a dramatic increase in demand for bandwidth, and asmore and more content finds a home on the Web (and more and moreconsumers find Internet in their homes), this demand will only surge.

We've already seen on the mobile side what kind of crisis can arise ifthe infrastructure isn't there to support the demand (hello,AT&T!), and we definitely don't want a similar thing happening onthe hard-wired Internet side. Have a look at the video below explainingthis giant box's place in your future dealings with the Web; much likethe Bloomenergy box, you probably won't know how much good its doingbehind the scenes, but hopefully you can appreciate the efforts to keepthe Internet blossoming.


  • The Cisco CRS-3 triples the capacity of its predecessor, the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System,with up to 322 Terabits per second, which enables the entire printedcollection of the Library of Congress to be downloaded in just over onesecond; every man, woman and child in China to make a video call,simultaneously; and every motion picture ever created to be streamed inless than four minutes.
  • The Cisco CRS-3 enables unified service delivery of Internet andcloud services with service intelligence spanning service provider Internet Protocol Next-Generation Networks(IP NGNs) and data center.  The Cisco CRS-3 also provides unprecedentedsavings with investment protection for the nearly 5,000 Cisco CRS-1deployed worldwide.  Cisco's cumulative investment in the Cisco CRSfamily is $1.6 billion, further underscoring the company's commitment.
  • AT&T,one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, recentlytested the Cisco CRS-3 in a successful completion of the world's firstfield trial of 100-Gigabit backbone network technology, which tookplace in AT&T's live network between New Orleans and Miami.  Thetrial advances AT&T's development of the next generation ofbackbone network technology that will support the network requirementsfor the growing number of advanced services offered by AT&T toconsumer and business customers, both fixed and mobile.
  • The Cisco CRS-3 is currently in field trials, and its pricing starts at $90,000 U.S.

Highlights and Capabilities for the Next-Generation Internet:

  • Unmatched Scale:  With a proven multi-chassis architecture,the Cisco CRS-3 can deliver up to 322 tbps of capacity, more thantripling the 92 tbps capacity of the Cisco CRS-1 and representing morethan 12 times the capacity of any other core router in the industry.
  • Unique Core and Data Center/Cloud Services Intelligence: In addition to capacity requirements, the growths of mobile and videoapplications are creating new multidirectional traffic patterns withthe increasing emergence of the data center cloud.  The new Cisco DataCenter Services System provides tight linkages between the Cisco CRS-3,Cisco Nexus family and Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) to enableunified service delivery of cloud services.  This intelligence alsoincludes carrier-grade IPv6 (CGv6) and core IP/MPLS technologies thatpermit new IP NGN architectural efficiencies required to keep pace withthe rapidly growing cloud services market.  Unique capabilities include:
    • Network Positioning System (NPS) -- provides Layers 3 to 7application information for best path to content, improving consumerand business experiences while reducing costs.
    • Cloud virtual private network (VPN) for Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS)-enables 'pay-as-you-go' for compute, storage and networkresources by automating Cisco CRS-3 and Cisco Nexus Inter-Data centerconnections for Cisco UCS.
  • Unprecedented Savings:  The Cisco CRS-3 offersdramatic operational expense savings and up to 60 percent savings onpower consumption compared to competitive platforms.  The Cisco CRS-3also delivers significant capital expenditures savings and investmentprotection for existing Cisco CRS-1 customers.  The new capabilities inthe platform can be achieved by reusing the existing chassis, routeprocessors, fans and power systems with the addition of new line cardsand fabric.  These upgrades can be performed in-service and be providedby Cisco Services to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Silicon Innovation:  The Cisco CRS-3 is powered by thenew Cisco QuantumFlow Array Processor, which unifies the combined powerof six chips to work as one, enabling unprecedented levels of servicecapabilities and processing power.  Making this implementation evenmore unique is its ability to deliver capabilities with a fraction ofthe power required by lesser performing chipsets.  The CiscoQuantumFlow Array chipset was designed to provide the new system theability to scale with the ever increasing demands being placed on theIP NGN by the many different applications and billions of devices beingused by both businesses and consumers in the Zettabyte era.
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rapid1 replied on Tue, Mar 9 2010 1:07 PM

This is very nice to see especially from Cisco as I regard them as the definition of this type of communications, as do many I would imagine.

I am pretty sure this is done to further enable Ipv6 as well, where most internet and network traffic is now handled with an Ipv4 protocol currently. The addressing and efficiency of Ipv6 is well above the older protocol as well as specifically aimed at things like media transmission.

The big reason this adoption has not gone faster as it has existed for several years now was equipment efficiency and cost. This should definitely lower that cost for a company as well as upping the efficiency considerably.

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Dave_HH replied on Tue, Mar 9 2010 3:30 PM

This may seem like a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo to some of you but it's very much a sign that the economy might be recovering a little, officially. Great to see the Datacom companies getting back in the swing with big iron products like this.

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This may seem like a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo to some of you but it's very much a sign that the economy might be recovering a little, officially. Great to see the Datacom companies getting back in the swing with big iron products like this.

I agree. We need this kind of technical muscle to progress forward. 


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3vi1 replied on Tue, Mar 9 2010 6:11 PM

I'm guessing that $90k is sans cards and power supplies, given the price of all their other equipment. :p

This news is probably only important to AT&T, Verizon, and a few others... as even the largest non-telcom companies don't have anything much greater than 6513s.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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mhenriday replied on Wed, Mar 10 2010 4:53 AM

We need technological advances like this system - in addition to IPv6 - if the internet is to continue to grow....


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