Cisco CMTS Offers Unlimited Scalability

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Internet-equipment magnate Cisco Systems Inc. has introduced the "uBR10012 Universal Broadband Router," a new, "carrier-class" cable-modem termination system designed to aggregate voice and data traffic on the edge of cable networks.

Cisco said its new gear is based on the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification 1.1 standard. The company has not decided whether to submit the chassis for 1.1 or 1.0 testing when Cable Television Laboratories Inc. conducts its next certification and qualification wave in January 2001, Cisco director of marketing John Mattson said.

Cisco submitted its "uBR7246-VXR" CMTS to CableLabs for the current round of testing, which involves 1.1 spec-based products. Results from that round are expected on or around Dec. 14.

Cisco is not the only CMTS vendor to add the "carrier-class" and "next-generation" labels to its headend gear. RiverDelta Networks Inc., Cadant Inc. and Broadband Access Systems Inc. (now part of ADC Telecommunications Inc.), which have also sent 1.1-based products to CableLabs for qualification testing, have made the same claims.

In addition to North American DOCSIS standards, Cisco's new 10000-series box is also outfitted to handle EuroDOCSIS and Digital Video Broadcast specs, giving the company a larger, more global target audience, Mattson said.

Basically, this box is for the big dogs. Cisco's latest platform features eight line cards, can process 2 million packets per second and can house 25.6 gigabits per second of usable bandwidth.

Mattson said the company is already working on a version that can handle as many as 8 million packets per second.

By placing more intelligence at the edge of a network, the "uBR10012" is designed to give cable operators the ability to deliver a "more feature-rich" service to their customers, the company said. Operators have unused capacity in networks currently outfitted with the company's "uBR7200" equipment, Cisco noted.

The uBR10012 allows cable operators to achieve higher scale on existing networks without having to build a new one, and ensures that the equipment scales more quickly than "Moore's Law," Mattson said.

Cisco's new box can also handle "unlimited" scalability, Moore said. At present, it provides 40 times more scale than Cisco's 7200-series CMTS, but can double in scale with "no limitation on an ongoing basis" via future upgrades, Mattson said.

More specifically, Cisco claims the gear uses "Parallel eXpress Forwarding" technology to maximize throughputs and eliminate physical constraints on scaling capacity.

Cisco said it will start taking orders for the uBR10012 next month and follow with commercial shipments in January.

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