Exclusive: Earlier this week, when checking my referers log, I came upon TechEdgeWeekly.com, which turned out to be a blog created by Cisco Systems. It’s an attempt by the company to use humor to drum up interest in one of its products. Its effectiveness as a comic tool, however, rivals what I imagine is uber-comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s ability to hack together router software.
I watched all the videos, which hinted that Cisco was launching something big. As luck would have it, I then got an invite from the networking giant for a pending lunch, but that made the whole thing even more mysterious. According to the invite, Cisco had built a device “from the ground up” over “four painstaking, ?meticulous years” and planned to introduce it on Nov. 11.
“Cisco will introduce a revolutionary telecommunications product that will enable service providers to capitalize on a major market opportunity being created by the accelerating growth of both video and mobile data traffic,” it read. Intrigued, I made a few calls. Here is what I found out:
Cisco is releasing a new router targeting the metro networks – which are seeing a big surge in demand, especially in large cities. The demand for bandwidth in those regions, as I have outlined earlier, is the result of increased video traffic.
More recently, the easy availability of 3G networks and mobile devices that consume gobs of wireless bandwidth, like the iPhone, have sent carriers and Internet service providers alike scrambling to add even more capacity to their backhaul networks.
While I wasn’t able to find to out the code name for this new service provider edge router, it will undoubtedly be a competitor to Alcatel routers from its TiMetra division and, more importantly, to Juniper’s MX line of Ethernet services routers, which are much in demand. On their third-quarter earnings conference call, Juniper executives said that its MX series of devices “has been the fasting-ramping product in our company’s history, with more than 300 customers worldwide.”
This new device from Cisco, at least the way it has been described to me, is meant for next-generation networks and will have a lot of capacity – starting at 40 Gbps per slot and going to as much as 100 Gbps. Juniper is currently working on a device that would be able to handle 120 Gbps per slot. Cisco has been testing this new router with at least three carriers, including one major telecom company in Japan and one large cable provider in the U.S. We’ll update you after Nov. 11.