One year ago, we announced the Cisco 8000 Series routers, combining the revolutionary Cisco Silicon One chipset and Cisco IOS XR, to deliver a breakthrough in high-performance routers.

The first platforms shipped leveraged the Silicon One Q100 chipset, doubling the network capacity of all other high-scale routing ASICs. The award-winning Silicon One Q100 chipset is the first routing silicon to eclipse the 10Tbps network bandwidth benchmark, without compromising carrier-class capabilities, e.g., feature richness, large queue set, deep buffers, large NPU tables, and advanced programmability. Capable of delivering up to 10.8 Tbps of network bandwidth, the Cisco Silicon One Q100 is packaged into the Cisco 8000 Series fixed-form factors (Cisco 8201 and Cisco 8202), or as fabric cards and/or line cards for the Cisco 8000 Series modular chassis (Cisco 8808, 8812 and 8818),

In less than a year, the Cisco 8000 Series captured worldwide recognition with Interop Tokyo 2020’s Grand Prize for Network Infrastructure and it’s also racked up wins and gained traction in both cloud providers and communication service providers’ networks. And it didn’t stop there, education and research networks have taken notice too. A recent announcement from Internet2 highlights the much-anticipated roll-out of an entirely new network with Cisco 8201 and 8202 routers in 48 locations across the United States. The new network will provide 4 -12 times more capacity across the national footprint, at a fraction of the operational costs. Once fully deployed it’s expected to use 668 metric tons less power and cooling.

In October 2020, the Cisco Silicon One Q200 (second generation) hit the market with six new 7nm additions to the portfolio, three highly efficient web scale switching devices, and three high-scale routing devices.

The new routing chipsets cover an expanded performance range between 3.2Tbps and 12.8Tbp. Compared to the first generation (Q100), the Q200 offers a 20% increase in network bandwidth.

Beyond the network bandwidth performance, these new chipsets are also incredibly power efficient; with Cisco Silicon One, an entire 12.8Tbps routing system can consume less than 390 watts of power, offering up to a 71 percent reduction in power usage compared to other systems.

Leveraging the new Q200 chipsets, we are thrilled today to announce the expansion of the 8000 series to include new fixed chassis options and new line cards.

New Line Cards and Modular Chassis Options

Matching the same capacity as the former 14.4Tbps line card (8800-LC-36FH), we are adding two new line cards that reduce power consumption and deliver up to 14.4Tbps of total capacity via 36 400GbE QSFP-DD ports – the 88-LC0-36FH and the 88-LC0-36FH-M line cards. The latter providing a stronger security posture with the support of MACSec on all ports.

A third line card – the 88-LC0-34H14FH – offers more flexible configurations by delivering up to 12.8 Tbps of total capacity via 34 100GbE ports and 14 400GbE ports.

And a new modular chassis, the Cisco 8804, expands the 8000 series portfolio with a 4-slot chassis, providing up to 57.6Tbps total capacity and supporting 100/400GbE line cards.

New Fixed Chassis Options

In total, four new chassis complement the existing Cisco 8201 and 8202.

The new 8100 Series routers are designed with no High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM). HBM is located on the chip package and connects to the Cisco silicon One ASIC via an ultra-fast silicon interface. It’s used for both deep buffering and to extend forwarding table size, eliminating the need for external memory.

The new Cisco 8100 Series routers deliver 3.2Tbps, 6.4Tbps and 12.8Tbps total capacity in 1 RU via 32 400GbE QSFP-DD ports:

  • 8101-32H – 1 RU chassis leveraging the Q202 chipset and supporting up to 32 100GbE QSFP28 ports
  • 8102-64H – 2 RU chassis leveraging the Q201 chipset and supporting up to 64 100GbE ports QSFP28 ports
  • 8101-32FH – 1 RU chassis leveraging the Q200 chipset and supporting up to 32 400GbE QSFP56-DD ports

The streamlined scale and buffer capacity make the Cisco 8100 Series routers ideal for Top of Rack (ToR) deployments, high-density leaf and spine deployments in datacenter networks, and IP fabrics leaf and spine use cases.

A new system delivering up to 12.8Tbps with HBM complement the Cisco 8200 Series routers:

  • 8201-32FH – 1 RU chassis leveraging the Q200 chipset and supporting up to 32 400GbE QSFP56-DD ports with HBM

Engineered for relatively high-buffer and high-scale use cases, the Cisco 8200 series have on-chip HBM memory to achieve higher scale. They are ideal for Aggregation, Peering, Core, and Datacenter Interconnects (DCIs) deployments.

The new 8000 Series Routers also support SONiC or other open network operating systems. And Cisco remains committed to supporting SONiC on fixed chassis as well as on modular systems, to help cloud customers manage and operate hyperscale architectures.

Leveraging IOS XR

While the hardware capabilities of the Cisco 8000 Routers series are impressive, their value is largely dependent on the features delivered by the industry-leading Cisco IOS XR7, including:

  • Secure zero-touch provisioning for simple and cost-effective network operations
  • Industry-leading implementation of Segment Routing for advanced traffic engineering at mass scale
  • Streaming telemetry for granular network visibility
  • Extensive support of data models and APIs for advanced programmability and ease of insertion into customers’ operations
  • Secure boot and signed RPMs for trustworthiness

Routed Optical Networking

The standardization of 400G ZR/ZR+ optics along with the massive scale in routing paves the way to a disruptive architectural shift, changing network economics and simplifying the way networks get built.

With the Cisco Router Optical Networking solution, the always separated IP and optical network layers can be more unified by integrating 400G optics into the IP infrastructure. Making a hop-by-hop architecture possible and eliminating the need for ROADMs in the network.

All Cisco 8000 400GbE ports, be it on a line card or on a fixed chassis, support the 400G QSFP-DD ZR/ZR+ pluggable optics.

To learn more, visit the Cisco 8000 Routers series page.


Kevin Wollenweber

SVP/GM, Cisco Networking

Data Center and Provider Connectivity