In December, Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA) announced the 12000 Terabit System, which scales to 5 Tbits/sec, to provide service providers with the ability to outpace traffic demands by scaling Internet Protocol (IP) backbones. The Cisco 12016 Gigabit Switch Router (GSR) is the fundamental component of the 12000 Terabit System. This system also includes the first OC-192c/STM64 interface, and is in early customer deployments.
Analyst Patrick Houghton, senior vice president at Sutro & Co., views the announcement of the Terabit System as a significant milestone for Cisco's future. "Really, the first year for gigabit routers was 1998, generating about $150 million," Houghton says. "The market in 1999 is probably going to be about $1 billion, with about 85% of that belonging to Cisco." Houghton predicts that the market could double in the year 2000. "The market for terabit-class routers really should start in 2000, with a lot happening in 2001."
Christopher Nicoll, director of carrier and optical infrastructure analysis, and Steven Byars, principal analyst of carrier infrastructure, both analysts at Current Analysis, agree on the import of the introduction: "Cisco is finally addressing the high-end gigabit/terabit router market with a solution that has been eagerly anticipated by both competitors and customers....The new GSR and OC interface will have very high impact on the core IP routing industry. The competing terabit router vendors have been quite busy announcing their systems, but we believe that most service providers have been waiting to see what Cisco was going to do in this space before moving."
The 12000 Terabit System offers modular, non-disruptive system scalability to 5 Tbits/sec using an advanced crossbar switch fabric architecture. Because the system is managed as a single routing node, it simplifies point-of-presence architecture and reduces cost of operations, says the company.
The 12016 can accommodate up to 15 OC-192c interfaces and has a switching capacity that scales to 320 Gbits/sec. In addition, it supports the entire range of 12000 series interface cards with speeds ranging from DS-3 to OC-192c, including channelized OC-12, to provide configuration flexibility. With a system latency as low as 13 ms, the platform supports real-time traffic such as interactive data, on-line transactions, voice, and video.
Qwest Communications (Denver, CO) is already implementing the 12016 GSR in the industry's first coast-to-coast OC-192c link between New York and Sunnyvale, CA. Quest is running production traffic at 10 Gbits/sec between broadband Internet network locations. During the latest Cisco test, Qwest successfully streamed 270 Mbits/sec of video over the network while at the same time handling Internet traffic generated out of the Silicon Valley and the New York metropolitan area, the two most intensive markets in the U.S. Qwest's existing nationwide OC-48 IP network already supports multi-terabits of capacity; by deploying a nationwide OC-192c infrastructure, the company will be able to scale its network capacity up to 5 Gbits/sec.
The 12016 GSR will ship this month, starting at $65,000. Cisco expects the OC-192 interface to be in trials for the next six months, with volume deployments occurring in the second half of next year.