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Cisco to introduce new heavy-duty Internet router

Tue, 03/09/2010 - 7:30am
The Associated Press

Cisco Systems Inc. announced Tuesday that it is upgrading one of its biggest pieces of networking hardware, a router that's used to power the most trafficked parts of the Internet backbone.

Routers play an important role as the Internet's traffic cops, shunting packets of data to their destinations. Those placed at the Internet's backbone — the main arteries for traffic — need the most capacity given the amount of data passing through. These machines are known as core routers, and Cisco competes in this market with Juniper Network Inc., which has updated its products more recently than Cisco.

Cisco, the world's largest maker of computer networking gear, said it is replacing its aging CRS-1 core router, which was introduced in 2004, with a model that is three times faster, the CRS-3. It can handle 322 terabits of traffic per second, or simultaneous video calls for every person in China, Cisco said.

While that much capacity may seem superfluous, Cisco said, increasing use of video online keeps Internet traffic growing.

The CRS-3 will be available in the third quarter and sell for $90,000 and up. Cisco has invested $1.6 billion in developing the CRS family, said Pankaj Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Service Provider Group. He spoke on a webcast with analysts and press.

Zeus Kerravala, a fellow at research firm Yankee Group, said the CRS-3 "has set a new bar for network performance."

AT&T Inc. said it had successfully tested the CRS-3 on a commercial backbone route between Louisiana and Florida.

Investor excitement about Tuesday's scheduled webcast pushed Cisco's stock up 3.6 percent on Monday. By midday Tuesday, the stock had fallen 25 cents, or 1 percent, to $25.88.

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