Cisco: Silicon One enables the best routers


It’s not every day that you work on products that continue to evolve so rapidly that before you’re done talking about a device, the next generation comes out. However, with Cisco Silicon One ™, that’s exactly what we did.

We recently announced our 19.2 Tbps P100 routing silicon piece and wanted to spend some time on what that means from a system perspective.

Cisco Silicon One P100 – In a class of its own

There are several types of routing silicon available in the market today, from third party silicon vendors to full system vendors. This silicon covers a variety of market needs, but generally speaking, routing silicon breaks down into silicon designed for core, peering and aggregation markets versus those focused on broadband aggregation. If we take a look at all the silicon currently available on the market, it is clear that Cisco Silicon One is in a class of its own, and even today no routing silicon achieves higher bandwidth even than our Q100 d. ‘Originally announced in 2019. Since then, we have deployed the Q200 with higher bandwidth and lower power consumption than the Q100. Today, less than 24 months after our initial launch of the Q100 and just 12 months after our announcement of the Q200, we released the P100, further strengthening our lead over the competition. We believe the Cisco Silicon One P100 has 2.6 times the Ethernet bandwidth compared to other routing silicones on the market.

The Cisco Silicon One P100 builds on the great foundation we built with Cisco Silicon One, but continues to add improvements in functionality, buffering, scalability and programmability while increasing bandwidth. .

Because Cisco Silicon One devices can flexibly assign ports to a generic Ethernet or a fully planned fabric, the Cisco Silicon One architecture helps optimize fixed enclosures and modular systems.

This capability is unique in the industry and allows us to offer products ranging from a fixed box measuring a single rack unit with a single piece of silicon, to a massive modular frame with many pieces of silicon, to a single frame fully disintegrated with even more pieces of silicon. All of this is accomplished with a common architecture, SDK, and P4 passcode.

This means that when we release a new piece of routing silicon, we allow our customers to enjoy benefits across their portfolio and across their network.

If I try to oversimplify the impacts of the Cisco Silicon One P100 on the market, we see that:

  • The P100 enables high bandwidth fixed packages with 6 to 12 times less silicon. This leads to massive energy, space and cost savings while simultaneously reducing latency.

  • The P100 enables modular systems with more than 2x the bandwidth of anything on the market, with the first 36 × 800, 28.8 Tbit / s modular line cards, while dramatically improving efficiency energy efficiency of modular systems.

Advantages of the fixed housing

Because we can use a single piece of silicon to create a 19.2 Tbps, 24x800G, or 48x400G router, we can achieve a level of efficiency unprecedented in the industry today. The next best piece of routing silicon on the market peaks at 7.2 Tbps.

This means that you need to use between six and 12 devices to build an equivalent system. This difference means Cisco Silicon One enables a smaller, lower latency, and more power efficient router at the system level.

Advantages of the modular line card

Modular systems are built with several pieces of silicon. Based on the limitations of faceplate, printed circuit board (PCB), optical form factors, silicon, and orthogonal connector densities, most system vendors produce 36x400G line cards with tape 14.4 Tbit / s bandwidth for the customer.

Using our advanced architecture, coupled with 100G PAM4 Serializer / Deserializer (SerDes) technology, Cisco Silicon One P100 enables line cards to overcome previous limitations in front panel optics, PCB technologies and orthogonal connectors, resulting in in line card hardware twice the bandwidth of other modular line cards. When paired with our 25.6 Tbps fabric element, the Cisco Silicon One G100 offers 2.6 times the bandwidth of other fabric elements, so customers can build modular routers with bandwidth is up to three times higher.

The increased bandwidth associated with the energy efficiency of Cisco Silicon One results in significant energy efficiency gains over all other routing silicon on the market.

Building the future of the Internet

Cisco Silicon One P100 enables the highest bandwidth and the most efficient fixed box routers based on a single piece of silicon. It also enables the highest bandwidth modular line cards which have twice the bandwidth of what can be built with our competitors’ silicon.

Cisco continues to validate the claims we made in December 2019 by proving the benefits of a fully converged architecture designed from the ground up for the future of the Internet.

For more information read my full review on

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