N+I – Cisco unveils mid-range Internet router

Cisco Systems Corp. has announced a new mid-range router family, known as the Cisco 7300 series, along with OC-48 enhancements to its existing 7603 and 7606 Internet routers.

Aimed at lower-density enterprise settings, the new 7300 series is designed for flexibility and wide-ranging application support, according to the company. The first entry in the series, the 7304, is a 16Gbps, four-slot router that offers multiprotocol routing and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. The device offers high availability and redundant route processing at full OC-48 speeds, according to Brendan Gibbs, product marketing manager of Cisco’s Internet systems unit.

Furthermore, the 7304 router comes with Cisco’s PXF IP services processor, which works in conjunction with the central CPU to boost the performance of specific services, according to the company.

Enhancements to the higher-end 7603 and 7606 routers include support for 15 million packets per second for the 7603, and 30 million for the 7606.

“When [a customer] wants to provide a good solution for a smaller-density secondary POP for an enterprise, they would like to run multiple applications in one system, in a consolidated fashion, as well as have the flexibility to support heterogeneous connections,” said Seenu Banda, marketing director of Cisco’s Internet Systems Group.

The enterprise market for mid-range routing looks promising, according to Banda, due to a rapid deployment of applications that demand high levels of service quality and security, as well as large amounts of bandwidth. Banda noted that, in particular, IP telephony, Web-based learning, b-to-b communications, supply chain management, and customer service applications are on the rise.

“Sixty to ninety percent of the bits on the Internet today are generated by enterprises,” Banda said. “They have to be connected to the Internet with a certain level of quality and guarantees.”

Similarly, service providers could use the 7300’s lower-density, secondary POP (point of presence) support at the network edge to develop billable services, Banda said. He added that enterprises and service providers share 95 percent of the same hardware and software service requirements, and mid-range equipment supports combined application aggregation.

“Any new application that the Internet may generate in the future is very likely to start from mid-range routing,” Banda said. “Mid-range has been the launching pad for all the new applications, like voice and security.”

The 7304 router will be available in October.