New Cisco edge router coming, analyst reports

New edge router will eventually support throughput of around 5Tbps to 7Tbps, yet is likely to deliver less than 1Tbps initially, Oppenheimer & Co. predicts

Cisco is expected to unveil a new service provider edge router on November 11 that's likely to succeed its aging 7600 series Ethernet platforms, according to an analyst's report.

Oppenheimer & Co. last week released a bulletin to investors stating that, "based on our checks," it expects Cisco to introduce a new edge router platform in mid-November. Cisco has issued alerts to the media about an announcement on November 11 that introduces "fraction-of-a-second" performance for a service provider product optimized for video and mobile data.

"We believe the platform will take on the ASR name (ASR X000) but will be materially different OS and feature-wise than the previously announced ASR 1000" for enterprises, states the Oppenheimer bulletin, authored by analyst Ittai Kidron.

Cisco was not immediately available for comment.

Oppenheimer believes the ultimate capacity of the new edge router will exceed that of Juniper's MX-series Ethernet routers, "yet we expect the initial capabilities to be sub-par, and we think it will take Cisco some time until the edge features fully develop."

"We view the announcement as the beginning of a two-to-three-year new edge-router family product cycle meant to replace the aging 7600 and possibly 12000," the bulletin states. "We believe the announcement is important for Cisco's competitive position."

The new router, which will be introduced in two slot configurations, will eventually support throughput of around 5Tbps to 7Tbps, yet is likely to deliver less than 1Tbps initially, just below Juniper's MX capabilities, Kidron states in the bulletin.

The new edge router will use Cisco's CRS-1 IOS-XR operating system and not the IOS-XE, which is used with the ASR 1000, he states.

"We believe this would likely put the new router at a feature disadvantage relative to Juniper's MX given that the IOS-XR has yet to fully support edge features," Kidron adds.

Oppenheimer believes the new router will be using Cisco's new multicore QuantumFlow processor, which is designed to enable multiple service deliveries, faster development of features and easier code portability.

"This point is important given the initial feature 'light' nature of Cisco's new router and will add credibility to Cisco's ability to deliver on its future road map," Kidron states in his bulletin.

The firm views the new router as a strategic weapon to fend off Carrier Ethernet incursions from Juniper and Alcatel-Lucent.

"We view the new edge-router announcement as a first in providing more clarity to the company's edge-router strategy. Cisco is likely to heavily promote the new router to slow down its competition."

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