Future of the Internet- A strategy spanning silicon, software, optics innovation

Cisco CEO, Chuck Robbins introduced press and analyst to Cisco innovations that will likely become foundational for the Internet over the next decade.

He shared that since coming onboard as CEO four years ago, he had wanted to focus on breakthrough innovations, while also providing technologies to customers for them to consume in whatever way they want.

‘Some customers will buy our 8000 series routers, or take our software and run it on their hardware. Or they will take our silicon and innovate on top of it,” he said.

The product and innovation announcements made today is a culmination of 5 years of research and development, worth up to possibly USD5 billion.

Addressing complexity

David Goeckeler, Cisco EVP and GM of Networking and Security, also dived into the reason behind these announcements.

According to him, the networking industry has evolved in a way where different parts of the network had different requirements, and hence different features and different engines to fulfill those requirements.

Two very popular examples of different parts of the networks being fulfilled by different engines, are switches and routers; switches have to support high-bandwidth traffic and be very power efficient while doing so, while routers are designed for scalability, deep buffering and programmability.

“For the past 35 years the industry has just evolved to this… and everyone has just kind of assumed that there needs to be two or three different kinds of engines because they need to do different things.

“What’s tricky about that is if you have different foundational silicon in your network, you build different software on top of them, and on top of that you build operational capability.”

This is where complexity comes in, because each software stack have to offer a uniform experience, and they each also have to be interoperable with each other.

The answer to this complexity could be one piece of networking silicon architecture that could work across the entire network, with best-in-class capability be it for a low-powered device or a high-featured device.

This is what Cisco Silicon ONE proposes to be, and it is a clean-sheet architecture that was announced today.

“We believe this is going to be the networking engine that powers digital innovation for the next several decades,” he concluded.

Besides enabling a faster pace of innovation, and simplifying all the complexity, other key things that a single architecture can address, is reduced cost.

According to Chuck, for every USD1 spent for underlying infrastructure, USD15 is needed to operate it.

Enabling 5G, access and edge technologies

According to Chuck, today’s announcements are about the core backbone tech for WiFi and access technologies of the future.

5G, for example. Cisco believes that their technologies today are critical to enable what 5G has been hyped to deliver for the past 7 years.

(This journalist is a guest of Cisco’s to this announcement event in San Francisco)