broadband Engineer internet media piracy Regs video

Cisco Drives Nail in Music Industry Coffin with CRS-3?

Most people won’t have given much thought as to how their email gets from A to B or how that video arrives from YouTube.  It just comes down the broadband connection which is plugged into the router next to the phone (or somewhere like that). Right?

Well today the worlds biggest router manufacturer, Cisco, announced their latest and greatest product.  It isn’t something that you will want to plug into your phone line though because it would take up most of the living room and there wouldn’t be enough room left for the sofa.

It would also be a bit of an overkill because this router, the CRS-3, is powerful enough to handle up to 322 Terabits1 per second, which  is roughly a hundred million times faster than the average UK broadband connection speed!

Cisco claims that the CRS-3 enables the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress to be downloaded in just over one second; every man, woman and child in China to make a video call, simultaneously; and every motion picture ever created to be streamed in less than four minutes2.

Uhuh do I hear you say?  So What??

Well you know everything has to progress and in fact regular readers of will have occasionally picked up some relevant trends.

The first 100Gbps network rollout was covered here

News of the London Internet Exchange (LINX) carrying 2.5Tbps capacity here

Operators of 100Gbps networks will want to invest in this type of kit.  There aren’t many yet – in fact I only know of two but I’m probably wrong.

As more people do more with the internet the “network” has to “grow”.  The CRS-3 represents a $1.6Bn investment by Cisco to stay at the top of the tree – most of the equipment that powers the internet is manufactured by them. A lucrative spot that it won’t want to lose.

Who would buy it do you ask?  Well the CRS-3’s predecessor is the CRS-1 and Cisco claims to have sold almost 5,000 of these around the world.

As technology advances the rule of thumb is that the next generation gives you 10x the speed at 4x the price.  This is how costs come down in the long term.  Of course usage must grow to justify the spend but that it is doing.

So the owners of 5,000 boxes out there will at some time want to upgrade and with the starting price at $90,000 Cisco doesn’t have to sell many to start racking up the dollars. And you probably get barely more than the actual box for that starting price. You can bet that the high end version will approach seven figures (I’ll see if I can find out for later).

Anyway the CRS-3 announcement is an exciting one for geeks and if Cisco wants Timico to evaluate one I’d be happy to devote an engineer to it – try before you buy of course 🙂 News about the CRS-3 on the Cisco website is here.

1 Tbps = 1000,000Mbps (ish)

2 Bad news for the rightsholders trying to prevent illegal online copyright infringement.  Is this a huge nail in the coffin of the old business model of the creative industries?

Photo below is a CRS-3 – note no sofa in sight! 

Cisco CRS-3 - world's fastest router

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

3 replies on “Cisco Drives Nail in Music Industry Coffin with CRS-3?”

Trefor – I looked at this story yesterday and though it is a huge piece of hardware,Cisco was touting it as changing the internet. Question is, am I supposed to be impressed that a leading technology company tripled the performance of its key bit of hardware in the six years from th elaunch of CRS-1, given Moore’s, Metcalfe’s etc laws?

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