Cisco router supports 322Tbps, designed for 'Net video

Cisco's new router for the IP video age could allow every person in China to make an Internet video call--at once.

What can you do with 322 terabits per second? Cisco Systems says it's enough bandwidth to allow every person in China to make a video call--simultaneously. And if that's something you want to do, Cisco says it now has hardware capable of the task.

The company's newest large-scale core router, the CRS-3, is capable of handling such a speed, which Cisco said is 12-times as fast as its closest competitor and three times the speed of its predecessor. It has invested US$1.6 billion in the product's design and engineering.

The CRS-3, announced today, is the product that Cisco last month said would "forever change the Internet and its impact on consumers, businesses and governments."

CRS stands for "Carrier Routing System," a reference to the device's use by large telecom providers.

Tbps stands for terabits-per-second and a terabit is a trillion bits. Compare that to the megabits-per-second that today's highest-speed business and consumer broadband connections are measured in.

Among other 322Tbps tasks: Transmitting every motion picture ever made (5 minutes), downloading the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress (1 second), or transmitting the entire DNA sequence of 56,000 people (also 1 second).

Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers announced the new router on a Monday conference call, during which he said the CRS-3 would be available before the end of this year. Field testing is underway and pricing for the new router is said to start at $90,000.

While 322Tbps sounds like--and is--incredible bandwidth, the CRS-3 is merely a response to the growth of video over the Internet.

"Video brings the Internet to life," said Chambers. "You are moving from a messaging platform to a video platform," Chambers said. He predicted the bandwidth required for Internet video would grow by 200-500 percent per year.

"The Internet will scale faster than any of us anticipate," Chambers said.

Aimed at Internet providers and telecom companies, the CRS-3 is a curiosity for most businesses, but one that demonstrates the demand for bandwidth shows no sign of slowing. Video will play an increasing role in filling the fiber optic pipelines of the future.

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