Evolution of the router

From BBN to Stanford to Cisco to open source

  • Color me alternative

    Some of Cisco's competitors, such as Extreme, unveiled Layer 3 switches in colors other than black, adding an interesting twist to an otherwise staid industry
  • Advancements in integration

    Routers were reduced to chip-size, ushering in the development of Layer 3 switches — LAN switches that could also perform IP routing.
  • Router Man

    Bill Yeager develops the [[xref:|multiprotocol router at Stanford|Router Man]] in 1980. Yeager's project would pique the interest of Stanford researchers Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner, and help launch Cisco.
  • The first Cisco router

    The AGS - for Advanced Gateway Server - shipped in 1986 as Ciscos first commercial multiprotocol router. The router supported TCP/IP and PUP, among other protocols. The highest line rate on the system was 100Mbps FDDI.
  • The Birth of Cisco

    Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner found Cisco after customizing and commercializing Yeagers multiprotocol router. Legend has it the two lovebirds set up a routed connection between their Stanford offices in order to easily communicate back and forth. After Cisco, Bosack started up XKL, a Redmond, WA., networking company. Lerner founded a cosmetics company and became an advocate for animal rights.
  • What do you think?

    Where will routing — and routers — go from here?
  • Heres a switch

    Layer 3 switches, like Cisco's Catalyst 6500, which debuted in the mid-to-late 1990s, have become a lower cost, higher speed alternative to routers in the core of enterprise IP networks. They are able to support Gigabit — 1000Mbps — Ethernet speeds
  • Whats Next

    Institutions like the Department of Defense have found applications for routers in space. This advancement could result in much broader and lower cost access to satellite data and networks.
  • The next generation

    Cisco's newest enterprise edge router, the ASR 1000, is optimized for VoIP, firewall, QoS and other deep packet inspection applications. It is based on Cisco's QuantumFlow processor, which is designed to perform many functions in hardware instead of software, and is designed to support up to [[xref:|10Gbps Ethernet line rates|Cisco overhauls edge routers after 5 years, $250M]].
  • Fuzzball

    Some of the first modern routers on the Internet in the early 1980s were called "Fuzzballs." They were Digital Equipment Corp. LSI-11 computers loaded with software written by David Mills, inventor of the Network Time Protocol and the Exterior Gateway Protocol. Fuzzball refers to the router's software, which includes a fast, compact operating system, support for the DARPA/NSF Internet architecture, and a range of applications for network protocol development, testing, and evaluation. A few Fuzzballs are still in operation on the Internet today.
  • For the carrier core

    Cisco and its competitors, like Juniper and Avici Systems, designed megarouters for the core of carrier networks in anticipation of the explosion in growth of Internet traffic and the advent of managed services. These systems are designed to support terabit speeds.
  • What a long, strange route its been

    From its gestation period 40 years ago until now, the router has matured along with the Internet to become the linchpin of all communications — data, voice and video. Its application seems limitless as the Internet is enhanced to support more and more features and services
  • The high-end workhorse

    Ciscos first successful core enterprise multiprotocol router was the 7000 series, which debuted in 1993. The 7000 series would be a mainstay in corporate networks for many years to come
  • An Open Route

    Other routing alternatives, like Vyatta's appliance based on open source Linux on x86 hardware, have sought to become, low-cost, feature-rich options to Cisco's dominance. An open source operating system supports [[xref:|applications for hundred of developers|Vyatta says open source router scales to 10G]].
  • The First Router

    BBN developed the Interface Message Processor for the ARPAnet, the Internets predecessor, in the late 1960s. The IMP could support 50Kbps links between nodes
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