It can connect three billion telephone calls in the blink of an eye, transfer the entire collection of the US Library of Congress in less than five seconds or download 220 million files in less than 90 seconds, according to Cisco.
But with an entry-level starting price of $US450,000, it is unlikely the general reseller channel will be placing many orders for the networking giant’s new Carrier Routing System (CRS-1).
While the million-dollar mammoth will never find its way onto shelves at Harvey Norman, Cisco said it would be happy to find a distributor capable of handling it. Until then, it will be sold direct.
End-users of the new router are expected to include telcos and other service providers, research institutes and major corporations.
Those already testing it include the US-based Sprint phone company, Deutsche Telekom and the Pittsburg Supercomputer Centre. Shipments start in July and Cisco’s Chatswood technical assistance centre will be getting one.
Cisco systems engineer, Michael Boland, said the release of CRS-1 was the result of four years work for 500 engineers after the company asked telcos and ISPs what they were likely to need to deliver future IP-based services, such as video.
The release of CRS-1 comes as Cisco celebrates its 20th birthday. The company was hatched after Len Bosack created a router to enable his Sun system to talk to Sandy Lerner’s IBM-based application, Boland told a celebratory lunch in North Sydney.
The pair split in the late 1980s, selling their shares for $300 million. Had they kept hold of them, they would have been wealthier than Bill Gates, Boland claimed. The official fairytale ended with Bosack still working in computers and Lerner running a farm.