I mentioned in my post re lobbying and the Digital Economy Act (DEAct) that he internet was a boring nuts and bolts game without the sexiness of the music industry.
Well coincidentally I have just taken delivery of some new kit – we are continually updating our network. The picture below tells it all. The box, known as a 7606 chassis, is what we plug in the routers and line cards that run our connections to the internet.
It might look boring but engineers can get really excited about these things – at least at what is going into the box. The 7606 chassis itself is just a series of slots – just like you have in the back of a PC. The difference here is that what gets put into a slot is several orders of magnitude more powerful that what you would buy from PC World. The Cisco 10Gbps line cards and supervisory engines cost tens of thousands of pounds each – and each 7606 takes six of them.
The chassis also has dual power supplies (boring – even for an engineer but necessary for reliability). In fact we don’t just buy one of these boxes – everything is x 2 for ultra reliability doubling the investment needs.
Whilst this ends up taking the cost well into six figures what you end up with is a router that can process tens of Gigabits per second of data. This may sound a lot compared to your average ADSL connection but can be quickly consumed if you are dealing with businesses that might want a couple of Gbps just for their own use.
If I remember I’ll take some photos when the chasses are installed and populated.