Tony Li returns to Cisco

* After eight-year absence, routing software engineer back working on projects based on new IOS-XR operating system

Routing software engineer Tony Li has landed back at Cisco eight years after he reportedly nailed his letter of resignation to an office door at the company.

Li started on Monday, Dec. 6, according to Mike Volpi, senior vice president in Cisco's routing technology group. He will be working on projects based on Cisco's new IOS-XR operating system, Volpi says.

"There are three or four areas where we want him to do some breakthrough work for us," Volpi says, declining to detail that work.

According to published reports, Li left Cisco in exasperation in 1996 to become the fifth employee at Juniper. He left Juniper in 1999 to help found Procket Networks.

Cisco acquired certain Procket routing hardware and software assets earlier this year for about $90 million. Li had left Procket shortly before Cisco acquired those assets.

As for the Procket assets, Cisco has discontinued the company's ASICs.

"We didn't find a right fit for what they had developed," Volpi says.

Procket hardware engineers are instead working on a couple of next-generation Cisco network processor designs - follow-ons to the 40G bit/sec silicon packet processors unveiled with the new CRS-1 core router in May.

On the software side, some ex-Procket engineers are building software bases for the enterprise market.

"We found a lot of applicability of their code base to that market segment," Volpi says, declining to detail the work.

Most of the software engineers, however,  are working on IOS-XR, Cisco's new modular operating system for the CRS-1.

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