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Packet Transport Nicely Wrapped (Happy Birthday CRS-3!)

It was no accident that Cisco won “Best Core” and “Best Network Infrastructure Provider” of the year at the Telecom Asia People’s Choice Awards. We talked elsewhere about the rapid adoption rate of the Cisco CRS-3, but what are some of the specific reasons behind its success?

The key factor is that today’s core networks must handle dramatic increases in bandwidth both cost-effectively and intelligently. It is simply not enough to transport traffic faster and cheaper. The massive volumes of video, mobile, and cloud services require intelligent IP delivery. The CRS has ability to scale with true, standards-compliant 100GE, 322Tbps multi-chassis capacity, along with superior network intelligence using Network Positioning System to help ensure that content is transported most efficiently. For its one-year birthday, the CRS-3 has added a new capability with a Flexible Packet Transport processor card optimized for Label Switching. It scales the core economically with fast switching, providing carriers the ability to deploy high-speed, agile transport backbones.

Global service providers can reduce costs by utilizing a single core platform to deliver a mix of routing, peering, and transport services. To illustrate the versatility benefits, imagine that a business customer is initially provisioned for a point-to-point connectivity service using packet transport. This is traditionally a lower margin service with tremendous cost-pressures. As that customer grows, they require a multipoint connectivity service with Unified Communications and Telepresence. This service upgrade with higher profit margins can be made quickly and easily without need of a separate platform. This alone lowers the total cost of ownership for capital expenses by 44% and operating expenses by 36% (see the white paper: Flexible Packet Transport: An Approach to Core Network Optimization.)

Eve Griliches from ACG Research spent some time with me last week in this video discussing the new capabilities on the CRS platform, the new market opportunities it enables for Cisco, and how it compares to the competition. You can also listen to the Investor Tech-Talk on ‘The Evolution of Core Networks’ and why a separate standalone MPLS switch is sub-optimal from an architectural perspective.

Furthermore, the CRS helps carriers deploy 100GE with confidence using standards-compliant, single-flow 100GE. The CRS-3 is in total compliance with IEEE 803.ba so future interoperability with other platforms, not just our own, is assured. Contrast this with time-to-market competitive offerings that split 100GE traffic into two 50Gig flows making it proprietary and stranding customer investment. However, don’t just take our word for it. Customers such as John Donovan (CTO of AT&T) and Kevin McElearney (SVP of Comcast) are confident in their choice of the CRS-3 as they qualify and deploy fully standards-compliant 100GE technologies in their networks.

Lastly, as a key component of the Carrier Grade v6 solution the CRS is helping carriers make a graceful, non-disruptive transition from IPv4 to IPv6. All of this helps our service provider and content customers leverage their existing investment in the CRS without the need to qualify multiple systems. The CRS platform is innovation that’s built to last. Unfortunately, our competitors continue to believe in announcing multiple products to fill the same role. A multiple product development strategy often stems from two factors: time-to-market and functional limitations usually due to deficient OS, software and hardware engineering. True innovation protects customer investments.

While competitive platforms claim to support Pbps of bandwidth sometime well in the future, to date the CRS platform has shipped a very real 7.5 Pbps of capacity. That’s enough to video conference every person in the world simultaneously. So, we’d like to wish a huge “happy birthday” to our biggest (and one of our favorite) routers. I can’t wait to see what new capabilities you get next year!

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