aka: GSR

The name given to Cisco's 12000 series of high-end routers.

These routers have the ability to route large amounts of traffic in complex routing environments due to the division of labor between the various cards. Rather than a single monolithic processor that handles the high-level routing protocols, as well as the routing of individual packets, there is one or more Route Processors which take care of the routing protocols and administration of the router, which build a simplified switching table for the line cards.

The line cards act autonomously, guided by the switching table, and use their own CPU to switch traffic across the router's fabric. This allows much larger traffic throughput to be achieved, even while running in complex environments.

The GSRs also have the ability to have multiple Route Processors, which gives the advantage of hot fall-over in the case of failure of one of them. In mission critical situations, this is important.

The average GSR is the size of a small fridge, and has enough flashing lights to impress whoever you are showing around your machine room.

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