Cisco Preps For 'Zettabyte Era' With New Router

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The Cisco Aggregation Services Router 9000 Series (ASR 9000) is designed to be the carrier Ethernet foundation for the "Zettabyte era," said Doug Webster, Cisco's senior director of service provider marketing.

According to Webster, Cisco expects IP traffic to reach half of a Zettabyte by 2012, a six times increase over IP traffic in 2007, with mobility and video accounting for a bulk of the traffic that traverses the global IP network. That growth will result in an annual bandwidth on the world's IP networks of roughly 522 Exabytes, more than half of a Zettabyte, the equivalent of downloading 125 billion DVD movies per month.

The ASR 9000 series, which comes in 6-slot and 10-slot chassis configurations, is designed to accommodate that huge growth in traffic by delivering massive scale and nonstop video while also reducing the carbon footprint, Webster said.

Webster said the ASR 9000 offers up to six times the capacity of comparable edge routers, with up to 6.4 Terabits per second of total capacity and line-card speeds of 400 Gigabits per slot. Webster said that 6.4 Terabits per second is equal to sending 500 books per second, 250,000 mp3 songs per second or 200 movies per second over the IP network. Or, he said, if each bit was a drop of water, the ASR 9000 could sustain the flow of 20 Niagara Falls passing through it each second.

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The ASR 9000 extends IP over Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (IPoDWDM) with Ethernet services to aggregation by integrating optical transponders. By providing IPoDWDM from the core to edge with the 92-Terabit Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System, Cisco XR-12000 and Cisco 7600 Series routers, Webster said the addition of the ASR 9000 to Cisco's IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) can reduce complexity while reducing the carbon footprint.

"The ASR 9000 offers service providers tremendous scalability and a services-optimized architecture, which truly sets a new benchmark in the industry for Carrier Ethernet systems for the Zettabyte era," said Pankaj Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Service Provider Technology Group, in a statement. "Video is rapidly pushing the capacity limits of routers that were considered cutting-edge just five years ago. This trend will continue unabated."

The ASR 9000 also incorporates Cisco Advanced Video Services Module (AVSM), which enables Terabytes of streaming capacity at the aggregation edge while also offering content caching, ad insertion, fast channel change and error correction for nonstop video delivery, eliminating the need for standalone content delivery networking gear to optimize the network.

Additionally, Webster said, every Cisco ASR 9000 line card is SyncE-ready, meaning it inherently works with cell site routers and delivers seamless mobile hand-off capabilities, avoiding the need for service providers to dedicate slots for additional synchronization cards, ultimately lowering the cost of mobility services.

Webster added that the ASR 9000 also wraps in a pay-as-you-need, modular power system, which turns on power as service providers turn on capacity. Essentially, a provider can tier the amount of power used to reduce their carbon footprint. The 6-slot unit has been designed with a side-to-back ventilation scheme that can help service providers free up side-by-side rack space. Webster said for every 6.4 Terabit unit deployed, providers can save the carbon equivalent of 88 tons of coal, 164 trans-Pacific passenger flights or 16 around-the-world car trips per year compared to competitive service provider offerings.

The ASR 9000 also uses the QuantumFlow Processor to deliver silicon-based security services and video, like in the recently announced Cisco ASR 1000. IT runs on the Cisco Internetwork Operating System (IOS) XR software for nonstop system operation, in-service upgrade capabilities and support of distributed scale.

Cisco said the ASR 9000 will start at $80,000 and ships in the first calendar quarter of 2009.