Cisco Systems has unveiled a couple of new additions to its Internet routing family, aiming to deliver high-performance application combinations and services for enterprise and service provider customers, as well as offer multi-protocol routing that scales to OC-48 speeds.

The Cisco 7000 series of Internet routers enhance Cisco’s solutions in the midrange capability market. New additions include the Cisco 7300 as well as additions to the Cisco 7600 Series, including the 7603 and 7606.

The main selling point is that the entry point for OC-48 routing is now under US$100,000, said Seenu Banda, director of product marketing for Cisco’s Internet Systems Business Unit in San Jose, Calif.

“The common characteristics of these new routers are that they bring all the rich IP services that Cisco has been working on for more than 10 to 12 years at the optical speed OC-48. The combination of IP service advantages and the combination of optical transport technologies which enable us to achieve really high speed is really the common theme,” Banda said.

“We’ve elevated the value proposition of midrange routers several fold. We’ve brought in the high availability such as redundancy of power supplies processes into the mid-range routing and we’ve brought in OC-48 to enterprise and small-form-factors to entry and price points,” Banda continued.

The routers are three specific product lines that complement each other, said Brendan Gibbs, product manager for the Cisco 7600.

“One of the great things about this product line is not only the multiple levels of price performance we’re able to provide in different small chassis form factors, but also the idea of being able to scale multi-protocol routing up to OC-48 cost speeds to scale the enterprise to the next level,” Gibbs said.

The 7300 series, specifically the 7304, is a four-slot router, fully modular system that scales up to 0C-48 and uses a centralized NSE-100 engine to deliver Cisco IOS-based services and protocols over a range of modular interface offerings, according to Cisco.

The 7600 series is comprised of small form factor routers that offer network edge IP services in a compact, modular chassis, Gibbs said. The Cisco 7603 features a forwarding rate of 15 million packets per second and can be deployed in applications where a small number of interfaces are needed (Tier 2 or Tier 3 point of presence). The six-slot Cisco 7606 unit features a forwarding rate of 30Mpps and 160Gbps and meets redundancy and rack density requirements, according to the company.

“What we’re trying to do is evolve the state of the art of midrange through the idea of bringing higher level, high redundancy functionality into the system,” Gibbs noted.

The size and modularity of the midrange routers allow customers to grow networks incrementally, avoiding larger initial capital expenditures, said Deb Mielke, an analyst for Treillage Network Strategies in McKinney, Tex.

“The benefit lies in its flexibility – it’s a really flexible (product) that can do a lot of things. You can change cards around so if your needs change and if wanted to go from frame to IP, you have the flexibility to do that without a lot of cost change,” Mielke said.

The Cisco 7000 family of routers is available now. The Cisco 7300 Internet Router has a base system price of US$36,000, which includes the Cisco IOS and 2-gigabit Ethernet Ports. Pricing for the Cisco 7603 Internet Router is US$45,000 and the Cisco 7606 is US$55,000. Cisco is on the web at