Cisco said to be readying major upgrade to CRS-1

MSC120 will triple per slot capacity, compete more effectively with Juniper T1600

Cisco is said to be preparing the launch of its next-generation CRS-1 core router. According to a bulletin from Oppenheimer & Co., Cisco over the next month will unveil the MSC120, a 120Gbps per slot upgrade of the 40Gbps per slot, six-year-old CRS-1.

The MSC120 will be a more formidable competitor to Juniper's T1600, which supports 100Gbps per slot. It will represent the "first major upgrade" to the CRS-1 since that router was announced in May 2004, according to Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer estimates the MSC120 will support 12 to 24 slots with total throughput exceeding 2Tbps. It is unclear how the MSC120 will scale in large configurations though, the firm notes - the T1600 can scale to over 25Tbps using the TX Matrix Plus router interconnect.

The MSC120 may also more formally introduce the 100Gbps Ethernet interface Cisco's been trialing on the CRS-1 at customers like Comcast.

Even though Oppenheimer expects Cisco to unveil the MSC120 soon, ASIC issues may push out delivery for another year or more. The firm believes Cisco was to employ a three-chipset ASIC switching fabric architecture but that the company recently discovered design faults requiring a redesign.

The delay might not open much of an opportunity for competitors, Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron notes in his bulletin:

While delays of such magnitude are not positive, we believe they will have little to no impact on Cisco's financial performance. Most of the core network vendor decisions have already been made and displacements are very rare. We don't expect Cisco to lose material business.

Or market share. Kidron does not see any major shift in router share with the advent of the MSC120, expecting Cisco to retain its 60% share and Juniper its 33%.

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