When the blizzard of technical details about Cisco's new carrier-class router come out tomorrow, they're sure to be impressive. The real question is, when we will actually start to see the payoff from carriers, in terms of lower prices and more flexible, advanced IP services?
To be sure, a lag is normal -- it may be until the end of the year before such systems can even be assimilated into core networks. And at first, any benefits are most likely to be seen by the carriers themselves, in reduced operating expenses for deploying and managing their services.
But the real proof of the new router's worthiness will come when the service providers who deploy it start using it to deliver more services, flexibly deployed, at lower costs. Our prediction is that tomorrow, service providers will line up in support of Cisco's new router, calling it the best thing since sliced bread. Just as assuredly, however, they will be silent as to when they'll be able to serve up a tasty, low-cost sandwich of services using the new gear.