Cisco 7000 Multiprotocol Router Platform Unveiled
Highest Performance for Today's Routing Needs, Foundation for Future Advanced Networks
MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 19, 1993 -- Cisco Systems has unveiled a new router platform designed to perform routingfunctions at the highest speeds available today and to serve asthe foundation for tomorrow's high-performance technologies,including silicon packet switching and asynchronous transfer mode(ATM) technology.
The Cisco 7000 internetwork router has the "highest aggregateIP forwarding rate ever measured" at Harvard University's NetworkDevice Test Lab, according to Scott Bradner, lab director.*
The Cisco 7000 complements Cisco's AGS+ router, which thecompany will continue to support and enhance (see accompanyingrelease), but offers measured 110,000-packet-per-secondperformance -- 50 percent greater than the AGS+ or competing new-generation routers. It also supports more network interfaces andcritical reliability, availability and serviceability features,including optional dual power systems and on-line insertion andremoval ("hot swapping") of interface processors.
In 1993 and 1994 the Cisco 7000 family, while remaining fullysoftware-compatible with existing Cisco platforms, will double itsperformance through the use of silicon-switching technology, andwill support such advanced interfaces as ISDN Primary Rate and IBMchannel. It also will interface to ATM switches, allowing it toform a router cluster and offer aggregate system performance inexcess of one million packets per second.
Mission-Critical Networks ProliferatingBrent Bilger, director of platform marketing, said, "Today'sinternational multiprotocol networks are enterprise-wide datautilities that carry such vital corporate information as factory-floor operations data or stock transactions. As the cornerstonesof such networks, routers must ensure that this information beavailable, at the lowest possible cost, whenever users need it.
"With its performance, high-availability features and newlydesigned set of interfaces, the Cisco 7000 sets a new standard forinternetworking in the largest, most critical networks. It alsocan perform the secondary function of high-end entry servicesrouting for such networks, saving money, maintenance time, andvaluable computer room real estate."
Centralized Switching Architecture for Performance, ScalabilityHoused in a standalone or rack-mountable chassis, the Cisco7000 uses a loosely coupled multiprocessing architecture in whicha switch processor handles real-time operations, forwardingtraffic between multiple interface processors. A separate routeprocessor handles nonreal-time tasks, sending and receivingrouting protocol updates, performing routing calculations, andmonitoring interface status.
"The resource contention scheme used by most router vendorsgenerates heavy interprocessor communication and arbitration,creating bottlenecks that limit aggregate performance," Bilgersaid. "Our centralized autonomous switching approach eliminatesthese factors, allowing performance that is proportional to thepower of the switch processor."
The Cisco 7000 employs a TRI-Bus (TM) design. Systemoverhead and interprocessor communication are handled by the firsttwo buses, leaving the data bus -- a 533-Mbps synchronous, split-transaction switching bus -- free for passing switched databetween interfaces. The result is a data highway that is alwaysavailable for transmission of real-time, mission-critical data.
Dual Power Systems Maximize Network AvailabilityThe Cisco 7000 is the company's first router to offer fullcurrent-sharing backup power systems, allowing uninterruptedoperation if one system fails. Either of the two 700-wattuniversal power supply systems -- which support voltages of 100-240 volts and frequencies of 50-60 Hz -- can be hot-swapped withthe system running.
With no cover to remove, the Cisco 7000 offers open single-side access to all modules for easy servicing. Its backplane hasno active components to cause reliability problems.
Of seven available chassis slots, two are occupied by theroute and switch processors, and five can accept a variety ofinterface processors to link up to 30 Ethernets, five FDDI rings,20 token rings, 40 WAN serial ports, or any media combination.The interfaces, like the power systems, can be hot-swapped.
Interface processors available for the Cisco 7000 are:
- Ethernet interface processor, with two, four or six ports.
- Token ring interface processor, with two or four ports. This card uses IBM's chipset and an enhanced interface driver, jointlydeveloped by Cisco and IBM, to offer the industry's highestaggregate performance, greater than 100,000 pps.
- FDDI interface processor, with one port, which supports routing, multiple bridging technologies (translational,transparent, encapsulation and remote source-route bridging), aswell as both single- and multimode operation.
- Fast serial interface processor, designed specifically for the Cisco 7000, with four or eight full-duplex ports running T1 at"wire speed" of 8 Mbps. RS-232, V.35, X.21 or RS-449 physicalinterfaces can be selected.
- HSSI interface processor, with a single port supporting serial communication at up to 52 Mbps, for the efficient LAN-WANconnection needed by distributed processing and database systems.
Flash memory, a standard feature on the Cisco 7000, allowsfor easier, more reliable software upgrades than floppy disks,with less maintenance and support overhead than PROM chipreplacement. Network administrators can distribute new systemsoftware releases or updated microcode to all routers within anetwork from a central location, without physically accessing theremote units. Under development is a Flash "credit card" thatwill facilitate the same procedure between networks.
Cisco 7000 Futures: Increased System Performance, High-Performance InterfacesThe Cisco 7000 is the base for future technologies to beimplemented over the next few years. Performance willapproximately double through the use of silicon packet switching(i.e., packet switching implemented in custom hardware rather thanin software). This capability will be made available as anoptional field upgrade to the Cisco 7000.
Advanced modules to be announced during this time include anISDN Primary Rate Interface (PRI) and an IBM channel interface.The latter will eliminate the need for host gateways and front-endprocessors when used with standard protocols such as TCP/IP inCisco-based internets.
In the ATM arena, the Cisco 7000 will initially support anexternal ATM DSU, for ATM WAN connectivity. Later it will supporta native ATM interface, with TAXI (100-Mbps) and SONET (150-Mbps)rate compatibility. In 1994, Cisco 7000s will form part of a"routing cluster" that can act as a high-speed silicon cell switchfor up to 240 Ethernets, 150 token rings, 24 FDDI rings or 800 T1lines, while integrating such critical routing functions asbandwidth allocation and prioritization, security, load balancingand filtering.
The Cisco 7000 offers the same comprehensive media andprotocol capability as all other Cisco routers, supporting morethan 15 LAN and WAN protocols via dynamic routing and multiplebridging techniques.
Pricing/AvailabilityAvailable beginning in February, the Cisco 7000 is priced at $19,990 withroute and switch processors. Interface processors are priced from $6,500to $22,000.
Cisco Systems, Inc., is the leading worldwide supplier of high-performance, multimedia and multiprotocol internetworkingproducts, including routers, bridges, communication servers andnetwork management software. Cisco technology can be used tobuild enterprise-wide networks linking an unlimited number ofgeographically dispersed LANs, WANs and IBM SNA internetworks. Inthe United States, Cisco is traded over the counter under theNASDAQ symbol CSCO.
*Tested at the Harvard Network Device Test Lab during December1992, the Cisco 7000 performed at an aggregate IP forwarding rateof more than 110,000 64-byte packets per second using a 10-Ethernet to 10-Ethernet test setup. The forwarding data rateobserved in the same tests was over 97.7 megabits per second outof the offered load of 98.6 megabits per second using 1518-byteEthernet packets. (Source: Scott Bradner, lab director)
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