Cisco Systems Inc is finally close to adding Gigabit Ethernet technology on its high-end routers, 18 months after the company paid $220m for Granite System’s Inc in a bid to steal lead in the then emerging Gigabit Ethernet market. Delays integrating Granite’s technology means that Cisco is entering a market in which most of its […]
Cisco Systems Inc is finally close to adding Gigabit Ethernet technology on its high-end routers, 18 months after the company paid $220m for Granite System’s Inc in a bid to steal lead in the then emerging Gigabit Ethernet market. Delays integrating Granite’s technology means that Cisco is entering a market in which most of its primary competitors already compete. In the past Cisco has always said it was awaiting the a final gigabit standard before it would ship any gigabit offering, but now it says it will ship before the standard is complete. Last week, the IEEE announced that the standard would not be complete in March as expected but will be ready by June at the earliest. Cisco says its will add Gigabit Ethernet interfaces modules for both its flagship Catalyst 5×00 switch line and the 7×00 router line in the second and third quarters this year. Despite Cisco’s late entrance to the market, the company’s dominant position in the backbone router and switch market will add significant weight to the uptake of gigabit ethernet into its large enterprise user base. The Gigabit Ethernet options available for the Catalyst 5000 series are a three-port switching module for server farms and a nine-port Gigabit EtherChannel switching module. The three port cards have a switching capacity of 6 gigabits while each of the nine-port line cards can handle 24 gigabits of switching capacity. The Catalyst 5000 family gets a range of high- and low-port- density Gigabit Ethernet line modules via technology successfully integrated from the Granite Systems acquisition. For the Cisco 7500, there is the Gigabit Ethernet Interface Processors (GEIP) is the first Gigabit offering for the 7000 routers line. It is designed to provide connectivity to Gigabit Ethernet-switched networks from the extensive LAN and WAN services. The GEIP can support a variety of media types including 1000Base-SX for short range and 1000Base-LX for intermediate range fiber interconnects. Furthermore, Cisco says if there is a change to the transceiver specifications in the Gigabit Ethernet standard, only the GBIP cards need to be changed, and not the entire box. To further enhance high-speed connectivity, Cisco is also implementing Gigabit EtherChannel on the nine-port gigabit switching modules for the Catalyst 5000 family. Gigabit EtherChannel enables up to eight Gbps of throughput between Cisco switches by grouping together four Gigabit Ethernet links to be combined into a single logical link that automatically load balances and provides failover of less than one second. There is also new switching engine the Supervisor III for Cisco’s Catalyst 5505. The new engine includes support for two gigabit Ethernet modular uplink ports. Cisco already ships Fast EtherChannel for its Catalyst 2900, Catalyst 5000 and Cisco 7500 lines. In addition, Cisco announced a NetFlow feature card that will fit into the supervisor module of the Catalyst 5×00 switches to provide high-speed Layer 3 switching capability. The 2-port Gigabit uplinks for the Supervisor III are priced at $3,995. The 3-port Gigabit switching module at $5,995 will ship in the second quarter with the 9-port module delayed until the Summer will cost $24,995. The NetFlow Feature Card costs $4,995 and will ship in tecond quarter. The Gigabit Ethernet Interface Processor costs $12,000 and will not ship until the third quarter.