Cisco Unveils System for Super-fast Internet

The new router would enable the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress to be downloaded in just over one second.

Cisco Systems on March 9 unveiled super-fast Internet hardware that promises to boost U.S. competitiveness and bolster economic recovery by moving mountains of data at astounding speeds.

The leader in networking equipment said its new router "triples the capacity of its predecessor," and "enables the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress to be downloaded in just over one second."

The system also would enable "every man, woman and child in China to make a video call, simultaneously; and every motion picture ever created to be streamed in less than four minutes," Cisco said.

The new Cisco hardware is for the backbones of telecom firms and other Internet service providers that will be able to vastly ramp up the amount of data they handle and how fast it travels.

"They are the plumbers of the Internet," analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley said of Cisco. "They are the ones that make sure that the pipes are clean and large enough to handle the flow of traffic and remain up and running."

AT&T indicated that it will begin deploying the new-generation Cisco switching and router hardware in the U.S. in about two years.

The company has found itself "bandwidth constrained" as people's lives increasingly revolve around the Internet and accessing rich content such as digital movies, videos and television shows.

Cisco chief executive John Chambers called digital video "the new killer app" and said that most gadgets connecting to the Internet are evolving to handle demand for such content.

The high-performance platform should also be tempting for Google, which recently revealed plans to create its own high-speed broadband Internet network.

"It's going to take a long time to deploy it," Enderle said of the new Cisco hardware. "With an infrastructure play you have to change a lot of stuff out before people get the benefit of it."

He expected people in the U.S. to begin seeing the effects of the new Cisco Internet hardware mid-decade.

"This is very important for Cisco, for the country, and for us individually," Enderle said. "This could make the country more competitive, not just by selling the technology but by how it increases the ability of players here to perform in an Internet Age economy."

With 12 times the traffic capacity of the nearest competing system, the Cisco CRS-3 "is designed to transform the broadband communication and entertainment industry by accelerating the delivery of compelling new experiences for consumers, new revenue opportunities for service providers, and new ways to collaborate in the workplace," the company said.

While the new routers are aimed at service carriers, Enderle expects Cisco to dovetail the technology with products it makes for businesses and homes. "While Cisco is talking about data centers, cloud services and carriers this initiative will eventually encompass homes as well," the analyst predicted.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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