High Noon in the Router Wars

Can Cisco regain momentum? Cisco execs aren't commenting on their router. But much will depend on a new software strategy that accompanies the rollout of the HFR. In the past, Cisco based all of its products on its Internetworking Operating System software, or IOS, which is to corporate networking gear what Microsoft's Windows is to PCs.

At a splashy event at Silicon Valley's Computer History Museum on May 25, Cisco Systems (CSCO) Chief Executive John T. Chambers will finally unveil a product that the networking industry has been expecting for the past two years: a top-of-the-line router code-named HFR, for "huge fast router." By stringing together dozens of the powerful new products, HFR customers will be able to move more Internet traffic in less time than ever before -- by a long shot, say insiders.

Cisco's new router hits the market at a critical point in its intensifying competition with Juniper Networks (JNPR). Just as telecom companies are starting to spend big bucks for new Net-based routers to replace decades-old telecom voice networks, the smaller but faster-growing Juniper has beat Cisco to market with cutting-edge new products.

True, Cisco is riding high once again thanks to robust sales to corporations, which use its gear to run their networks. But Cisco needs the HFR to be a big hit to reverse a disturbing slide in the important market for "core routers" that make up the backbone of the Internet. And of late, Cisco has been losing ground as both phone companies and Internet service providers have turned to Juniper instead.

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News source: TechNewsWorld

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