Cisco pointed out that a single fully configured CRS-1 pumping through 92Tbps would be able to support a 850kbps broadband connection to every household in the USA, or handle three billion telephone calls per second.
Cisco hasn't said if it has yet sold a fully configured CRS-1 (very unlikely) but it has just announced total sales of 1800 units, and significantly that half this total was sold in just the last nine months, to the end or March 2008.
It's flagged the driver of this growth as being the increase in video traffic on the web, quoting Michael Howard, principal analyst at Infonetics Research, saying: "Exponential traffic growth on the Internet - driven largely by increased deployment of video services - is causing more and more providers to rethink their core architectures...as business and residential consumers demand more video content in increasingly personalised bundles."
Cisco has available a couple of very comprehensive white papers setting out its methodology and forecasts for traffic growth: Global IP Traffic Forecast and Methodology, 2006–2011 and The Exabyte Era.
Just a few snippets illustrate why CRS-1s are selling like hot cakes: Three years from now, Internet video traffic will be twenty times what it was in 2006; driven by video, Internet traffic will quadruple by 2011; in 2011, online video will generate one billion DVDs worth of traffic each month.
Cisco might now be well on the way to recouping the $US500m in R&D costs it claims to have put into the CRS-1, but clearly the buyers of those 1800 units, and that includes Telstra, will need new ways of monetising these massive traffic volumes to recoup the investments they have to make in delivering them. Either that of the cost of gear such as the CRS-1 in terms of dollars per Tbps of throughput will have to keep falling fairly rapidly.