Cisco routers get a boost with new IOS technology

Cisco Systems last month unveiled the first evidence of stated plans to diffuse its next generation routing technology throughout its product line.

The company rolled out a model of its 12000 series Internet routers that runs the company’s modular IOS XR operating system that debuted almost a year ago along, with a new core router. Cisco also is set to unwrap a smaller version of its 7600 metropolitan Ethernet router, as well as interface card and module enhancements for its midrange and high-end carrier routers.

The product extensions could translate into more carrier service options for enterprise networks, as they will let carriers offer a broader range of services on a wider array of Cisco platforms. The enhancements also will help stabilize the IOS XR operating system by putting it in the hands of more carriers and in more production networks, analysts say.

“This is a very important thing for Cisco to do,” says Mark Seery, an analyst at RHK.

“Because the CRS-1 is going to take time to really evolve into a high-volume platform, getting IOS XR onto the 12000 form factor will accelerate the maturity of that software base. The CRS-1 is Cisco’s top-of-the-line core carrier router.

The XR 12000 is essentially a 12000 series router with an IOS XR software upgrade.

IOS XR brings a number of improvements to the 12000, which had been running Cisco’s traditional IOS software, such as secure virtualization, continuous system operation and multiservice scale, Cisco says.

Secure virtualization is the key feature, as it lets service providers isolate public and private services in a single router into separate physical and logical routing domains.

“It allows them to have true separation of customers per virtual router,” says Jennifer Liscom, an analyst at Gartner.

Meanwhile, 7600 users can deploy the router in smaller points of presence now that Cisco has winnowed down the chassis to four slots. Larger customers requiring WAN aggregation also can use the 7604 router.

The 7604 and XR 12000 routers — as well as those ranging from the 7300 to the CRS-1 — can run the new Shared Port Adapters and SPA Inter

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