Both Cisco Systems and Ascend plan to reduce service providers' costs by simplifying network infrastructure. Like Ascend's GX550 switches, Cisco's recently announced devices bring together IP and ATM networks, offer a wide range of interfaces, and use Synchronous Optical Network (SONet) technology. Cisco is also working with dense wave-division multiplexer (DWDM) vendor Ciena on SONet interfaces to link its switches into a DWDM core. But unlike Ascend, Cisco has not announced plans for hardware designed to replace digital cross-connect systems.
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