The news is this: Cisco is doubling the density of its Aggregation Services Router 9000 edge router series, which puts density well above the 100 Gig mark. The new line cards, which will be available in the next few months, have 16 10-gigabit-per-second Ethernet ports.
Cisco is claiming top-dog position at the moment, but its competitors have taken turns with edge router announcements of late. Juniper expects to start trialing 100-GigE cards for the MX 960 edge router before the end of the year. Alcatel Lucent is on a similar timetable. Huawei expects to introduce a 100-GigE line card, as well. So, different day, different vendor announcement.
The bigger question is why? What’s really happening is that vendors are positioning to help service providers engineer the next generation of services, according to CIMI Corp. President Tom Nolle. The approaches equipment vendors are announcing are extremely subtle; the point is to be a player in the network edge carrier build-up.
The likely reason service providers are interested in beefing up the network edge is not to serve up video for over-the-top players more efficiently, but to get into the content delivery network (CDN) business themselves so they get a bigger cut of the revenue, Nolle said. “If a provider is going to get a piece of the action by selling CDN services, they need to provide a better user experience.”
This isn’t the end of the port wars by any means, and who wins the most carrier market share will be interesting to watch.