New Cisco core router boasts 10X capacity of original

CRS-X has come a long way since Cisco's 10-year-old CRS-1

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Credit: CISCO

Cisco this week is upgrading its Internet core routers with the CRS-X, a system whose capacity is 10x that of what the initial CRS offered when introduced 10 years ago.

The CRS-X, which will be available this year, is a 400Gbps per slot system that can be expanded to nearly one Petabit per second in a multi-chassis deployment, Cisco says.  Up to 72 CRS-X, or earlier generation CRS-3 or CRS-1s can be mixed or matched in a multichassis configuration, the company says.

Ten thousand CRS systems have been deployed by 750 customers since the CRS routing system debuted in 2004, Cisco says. Current CRS customers can migrate to CRS-X capability with in-service replacement cards, the company says.  

Global IP traffic growth trends necessitate the CRS-X, Cisco says. Cisco’s own Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts global IP traffic to grow three-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching an annual run rate of 1.4 zettabytes by the end of 2017, up from an annual run rate of 522.8 exabytes at the end of 2012.  

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The CRS-X line cards employ Cisco’s new CPAK CMOS photonic technology, which is designed to reduce power consumption and the cost of sparing. Interfaces on these line cards can be configured for either single port 100GE, 2x40GE, or 10 x10GE and either short-, long-, or extended-reach optics by selecting a specific CPAK transceiver, Cisco says.

A single CRS-X chassis can support up to 64 100G Ethernet links, the company says.

This allows service providers to meet demand for 10G, 40G and 100G Ethernet applications without replacing hardware, Cisco says.

For IP and optical convergence, the CRS-X supports integrated optics or Cisco’s Network Virtualization (nV) optical satellite. The nV configuration allows operators to logically link physical CRS-X chassis with a shared control plane, and then extend system capabilities with remote virtual line cards out to the edge.

The remote virtual line cards are provisioned and managed as distributed line cards of the host CRS-X routers. This allows operators to provision the bandwidth they need with a single management and control plane, Cisco says.

Cisco did not disclose pricing for the CRS-X. It will go up against Juniper’s T4000 and PTX core routing systems and perhaps Alcatel-Lucent’s 7950 XRS.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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