Cisco overhauls edge routers after 5 years, US$250M

ASR 1000 line viewed as successor to company’s aging 7200, 7300, 10000 series

Cisco this week overhauled its edge router line with a new platform designed to provide better support for converged applications between corporate headquarters and branch offices.

The Cisco Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 series is designed for multiservice and broadband aggregation, applications traditionally handled by Cisco's aging 7200, 7300 and 10000 series routers. Cisco stopped short of saying the ASR 1000 would eventually replace those platforms but observers expect that to be the case, especially given that Cisco spent five years and US$250 million developing the new line, which includes a new QuantumFlow processor and operating system.

The ASR 1000 is the second major overhaul of a Cisco product area this year. In January, the company unveiled the Nexus 7000, its next generation data center switch which includes another new operating system. Some observers expect Cisco to recast its campus switch portfolio as well which is anchored by the years-old Catalyst 6500 and 4500 lines.

FactSet, a provider of financial information and analytic applications for worldwide investors, is looking to replace several of the hundreds of Cisco 7200 and 7300 routers with the ASR 1000 in some of its larger points of presence.

"I'll be consolidating multiple 7200s or 7300s into a single ASR chassis," says Jeff Young, FactSet CTO.

With the ASR 1000, Cisco is not only rolling out its next-generation edge router but attacking the sweetspot of Juniper's E-series and Redback's SmartEdge systems, analysts say.

"I think this is a real blast at some of their competitors," says Deb Mielke, president of Treillage Network Strategies. "Juniper's key strength against Cisco was in the edge. But this baby is hot -- smaller, more powerful, does a lot of neat things."

The ASR 1000 includes three models: the 1002, which has three port adapter slots; the 1004, with eight slots; and the 1006, with 12. The port adapters include two- and four-port channelized and clear channel T-3/E-3; four-port serial interface; eight-port channelized T-1/E-1; four- and eight-port 10/100 Ethernet; two-, five-, eight- and 10-port Gigabit Ethernet; one-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet; and two- and four-port OC-3 packet over SONET (PoS), and one-port OC-12 PoS.

The 1002 has another slot for a 5G to 10Gbps embedded services processor (ESP), as well as an integrate route processor. The 1004 has separate slots for a 10Gbps ESP and a route processor, while the 1006 has 2 10Gbps ESP slots and two route processor slots for hardware redundancy.

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