Cisco unveils new router to drive video; Big expectations ahead

Cisco makes a major networking announcement, one that will drive future growth of the Internet by beefing up the backbone.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

Cisco made a significant announcement today in its effort to revamp the Internet as we know, launching a new networking router that has the power and the capacity to handle the demands of the next generation Internet.

The product is the Cisco CRS-3 Carrier Routing System, which is designed to be the "foundation" of the next-generation Internet, one that can set the pace for video growth. The device promises to more than 12 times the traffic capacity of the closest competing system, with up to 322 terabits per second. How fast is that? The company said it enables the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress to be downloaded in just over one second.

OK, that's fast - but why do we need this sort of speed and capacity?

This is less about the Internet that connects Web surfers; This is about the Internet's backbone - a beefed-up pipeline that exceeds the sort of power that we actually need today, but prepares us for the growth that will come from Internet as it relates to video and advanced communications.

The company also said that AT&T recently tested the CRS-3 in a successful completion of a field trial of 100-Gigabit backbone network technology. The CRS-3 is currently in other field trials.

In a Webcast announcement, CEO John Chambers talked about how changing needs drive this demand. This is about meeting the needs of a future generation of users, today's kids who already see video and communications as part of our connected lives,

This is also about verticals such as health care or education or government and their needs to not only connect to each other for enhanced communications but with their customers, as well. On a business front, this is about the technology that will change everything from virtualization to collaboration.

John Chambers says this is a step in Cisco moving away from being just the plumber of the Internet to being a business partner, and adviser on how to bring new life to new technologies. Chambers has long said that the network is at the core of the Internet.

What was funny was that Chambers acknowledged this announcement wont turn many heads among consumer-level Internet users. It's boring backbone stuff for consumers - but it sets the stage for the Internet experience for the future.

As for Cisco's attempt at drawing attention to this news, the company seemed to take a page from Apple's playbook - and I don't know that it was that effective. Cisco issued a press release yesterday, inviting the tech press to an online event for an announcement that would "change the Internet forever."

This was a bit stiff, though - executives sitting around a table with another exec on the big screen, via Cisco's telepresence technology. In some ways, this is the press conference of the future - a "casual" setting where executives sit around and talk about how evolutionary its new offering is while we all tune in.

Just by the announcement itself, this hype was a bit more than what was delivered. Sure, the news is important to the changing role of the Internet - but it's no iPad announcement. And once we picked up the meat of the news, there really wasn't much more there - it wasn't like Chambers plopped down in a bug comfy leather chair to demo the technology the way Steve Jobs might do.

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