Cisco's $500 million router

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--After four years and $500 million in investments, Cisco Systems unveiled its high-end router--but it could be six months to a year before it starts seeing any revenue from the product. The router, dubbed the Carrier Routing System-1 (CRS-1), is designed for carrier networks that handle the highest volumes of Internet traffic. It is the first product engineered by Cisco that will allow several boxes to be clustered together to function as a single router.

CRS-1, which previously had been code-named HFR for Huge Fast Router, also is the first core router to offer 40 gigabit-per-second optical interfaces. Rumors and speculation about the product have circulated for almost a year. Four carriers, including Deutsch Telecom, Sprint, MCI and NTT Communications, were at a Cisco event here Tuesday to kick off the router. The carriers said they have been working with Cisco for the past few years to develop the product, which can be clustered through a switch fabric chassis to reach a routing capacity of 92 terabits per second. One gigabit is a billion bits; 1 terabit is a trillion bits.

While all these carriers have already tested portions of the router, none of them indicated that they would be purchasing one this year. Cisco said the CRS-1 will be commercially available in July.

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