Cisco Grows CRS-3

Just over a year ago, Cisco announced its new flagship CRS-3 routing platform. The CRS-3 offers the promise of up to 322 terabits per second of capacity, a dramatic increase over the 92 terabits provided by its predecessor the CRS-1.

So how has the CRS-3 done in the market over the last year?

Stephen Liu, senior manager of service provider marketing for routing and switching solutions at Cisco told, that there are 80 different customers using the CRS-3.

“That has nothing to do with units shipped, that’s 80 different customers, some of whom have multiple units of CRS-3,” Liu said. “This is building on the CRS platform penetration of 450 customers in 80 countries around the world.

Liu added that the total capacity of the CRS-3’s now in deployment adds up to 7.5 petabits per second. That said, Liu was not able to disclose how many actual units Cisco has sold or shipped, but noted that the uptake of the CRS-3 has been four times faster than it was for the CRS-1. The company has also said that both AT&T and Comcast are CRS-3 customers.

The CRS-1 was announced back in 2004 and at the time, it wasn’t entirely clear how the market might adopt the new core routing platform. According to Liu, the CRS-3 is co-residing alongside with CRS-1 in some locations.

According to Cisco, the CRS-3 is easy to deploy, considering it builds on the proven Cisco CRS-1 series. Thus it does not have to undergo all of the customer testing and qualification cycles or compliance procedures required for a completely new platform.

Since the CRS-3 was first announced, rivals including Juniper Networks have also updated their core routing systems: Juniper’s T4000 was announced at the end of 2010.

One of the key factors driving the adoption of the CRS-3 is the new 100 GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) standard.

“The Cisco CRS-3 is the flagship platform for 100GbE for Cisco,” Liu said. “It supports a standards-compliant 100GbE interface that’s fully interoperable, as opposed to competitive offerings that are only standards-based and not fully compliant hampering interoperability.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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