Cisco introduces its first 800G line card for routers

At the Hannover Messe, Cisco is releasing a 36-port 800G line card with QSFP-DD800 slots for the 8800 series routers. The model series specializes in the requirements of service providers and hyperscalers. Comparable data rates were previously only reserved for a few data center switches from the Nexus 9000 series at Cisco.

Based on the standardized Silicon One product architecture and the included P100 ASIC, the line card 88-LC1-36EH offers a bandwidth of up to 28.8 TBit/s. Based on the largest model 8818 of the modular 8800 router family, a 33U chassis with 18 slots is available, which achieves a maximum capacity of 518 TBit/s in full duplex mode. The software basis is the IOS-XR operating system, which is well known in provider environments.

The manufacturer specifies 5G provider networks, IoT and AI applications as areas of application. Compared to the previous 400G top model 88-LC0-36FH-M, however, Cisco does not use MACsec encryption. Each of the 36 available 800G ports can be used as 2 × 400G or 8 × 100G. Accordingly, a maximum of 72 × 400G or 288 × 100G is possible.

Compared to 400G systems, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to decrease by up to 215,838 CO₂ equivalents (CO2e) per year compared to 400G systems. The manufacturer relies on internal laboratory tests, an energy calculator, estimates of the global emission factor and greenhouse gas equivalent calculators from the Environmental Protection Agency for the calculation.

Cisco seems to be a step ahead of its competitors: for example, Juniper currently only specifies 36 × 400G ports on a line card in the data sheets for the PTX10000 series. Nokia also only specifies 400G ports in the data sheets for the 7750-SR-s series, but published press releases on studies and customer tests with 800G based on the FP5 routing platform as early as 2022.

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