Cisco will today launch a range of high-speed networking kit targeted as service providers, including a 10 Gigabit router and an optical networking control box.
The 12400 series of Internet routers, available today at prices starting from $120,000, are the first from Cisco to break the 10 Gigabit barrier. However other firms including Juniper Networks and Avci Systems have already announced or have begun shipping products.
Cisco will also introduced its ONS 15327 optical networking gear for metropolitan networks, a smaller version of its ONS 15454 product, 20,000 units of which have been shipped to telecommunications service providers.
Such high-speed networking kit is needed by service providers to manage high-speed multi-media networks, and use their available fibre-optic bandwidth more efficiently. By doing this telcos will be able to more easily roll out high bandwidth Internet access to both business and residential customers.
The service provider market has slowed down of late, mainly due to a reorganisation amongst US telcos, but Cisco is bullish about future growth in this key market for the company, and equally aggressive about knocking the competition.
Cisco used to have a virtual monopoly in the high-speed router market, but upstarts like Juniper have scored notable wins with key telcos like Cable & Wireless, which has resulted in Cisco's share falling to around 65 per cent.
Larry Lang, Cisco's vice president, interviewed by Reuters, was dismissive of the merits of Juniper's kit, which he described as been "cobbled" together from older technology. According to Cisco, its 12416 router delivers a twofold improvement scalability over competitive 10Gbps systems
Lang said putting the 12400 series against Juniper's products was like "comparing four Volkswagens to one Porsche."
Service providers are buying Juniper kit only to have an alternative supplier, according to Lang, who suggested the long term impact of the Juniper on Cisco's business will be minimal.
"Juniper's going to end up as the Macintosh of this marketplace," he told Reuters. ®