Cisco's New Router Is All About Video

Cisco has unveiled a new routing system that it claims can handle 12 times the traffic capacity of the nearest competing system. And it’s all about the video.

The company in a much-hyped announcement this morning introduced the CRS-3, a router that can move up to 322 terabits per second — enough to download the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress in one second, Cisco said, or deliver all movies ever made in about four minutes. The router has been tested by AT&T in a successful trial of 100-Gigabit backbone network technology. Cisco said it has invested $1.6 billion to develop the hardware, which starts at $90,000 and is slated to be available in the third quarter of this year.

“This is about laying the foundation for the next generation internet,” said Pankaj Patel, SVP and general manager of Cisco’s Service Provider Group, during a webcast. “It’s about scale.”

Cisco believes that kind of muscle will be necessary to support a dramatic surge in data consumption on fixed-line and mobile networks over the next several years. And the company is betting heavily that both consumer and enterprise video will drive a huge amount of that growth, as its $3 billion acquisition of Tandberg illustrates.

“Video is not just the killer app,” Cisco CEO John Chambers said. “It enables new business models, new health care models, new productivity models.”

Chambers also said Cisco is expanding beyond its role as “a plumber” to become a business partner and consultant for businesses looking to leverage new technologies. That’s a strategy that could pay big dividends as vertical markets such as health care and education increasingly look for ways to use technology to connect with their customers and with each other. And the move is likely to help Cisco maintain its edge in its two core businesses — routers and switches — that appears to have slipped slightly.

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Cisco

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