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Could this be Cisco's Internet of Everything core switch/router?

NCS 6000 said to feature high-density 100G, tightly converged packet/optical; presents apparent conundrum with CRS line

By , Network World
September 03, 2013 04:07 PM ET

Network World - Cisco's Internet of Everything router could be a converged multiservice/transport platform the company may launch soon.

The NCS 6000 will combine multiservice and transport line cards initially in an eight-slot chassis, making it a more direct competitor to Juniper’s PTX router and Alcatel-Lucent’s 7950 than Cisco’s CRS platforms in the core, sources say. Cisco has hinted at such a “Converged Transport Router” platform on its website: “A converged transport router…enables the simultaneous delivery of dynamic IP services, label-switched path (LSP)-based packet transport, and OTN-based circuit switching.”

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Such a device would cater to service providers handling increasing traffic loads and more diverse traffic modes, including more and more video.

Competitors are up to the challenge the NCS 6000 may present.

“If the rumors are true, this is a completely new system that underscores our point when we announced the first new core routing platform over a year ago," says Basil Alwan, president of Alcatel-Lucent's IP Routing and Transport Business. "New cores need a new architecture and the traditional CRS was clearly not a long term solution.”

Juniper also claims to have a head start on the NCS 6000.

"While we can't comment on Cisco's NCS 6000 specifically, Juniper Networks' PTX Series Packet Transport Routers have been shipping for a year and a half now with dozens of the top 130 service providers in the world running PTX in their production networks," a company spokesperson states.

NCS 6000 line cards will include 10x100G multiservice and label switch router (LSR) transport configurations with Channel Express (CXP) and CPAK pluggable 100G optical transceivers, sources say. It will run Cisco’s IOS XR operating system – the same as that on the CRS routers -- and support back-to-back and multichassis configurations in the future, they say.

The NCS 6000 may be the Internet of Everything router that Cisco CEO John Chambers referred to in a recent interview, and incorporate the new high-end, $250 million routing ASIC Cisco previewed at Cisco Live in late June. Cisco said it would not comment on “rumor or speculation” with regard to the NCS 6000.

But sources say it will present a core routing conundrum for Cisco, which just rolled out the CRS-X, a 400G per slot router featuring 10x the capacity of the first generation CRS.

“This launch will make the CRS-1/3/X a legacy platform,” one source said. “This will be a major challenge for Cisco to manage two platforms in parallel for the IP core, and it's an opportunity for Alcatel-Lucent or Juniper and others to grab IP core market share.”

Dell’Oro Group expects the core service provider router market to see strong demand in 2014 and 2015 as backbones are upgraded. The market will experience near double-digit growth over each of the next three years, reversing a 10% decline in 2012, Dell'Oro says.

For 2013, however, Dell’Oro lowered its core forecast from 10% growth to 7% growth.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 27 years, 22 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.

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