"With Internet traffic doubling every six months, networking
is one of today's hottest markets. Linux has always played a key
role in servers, but now the door is open for Linux to penetrate
the heart of the Internet: the high-speed router. These devices,
made popular by Cisco Systems, create the Internet by moving data
from place to place."
"Today, Cisco owns about 80% of the router market. Its products
use a proprietary software stack called IOS to handle all of the
routing functions. But, as the router market continues to grow
rapidly, many new companies are attempting to dethrone Cisco.
Rather than designing their products entirely from scratch, many of
these vendors use a new model that relies on third-party hardware
"The catalyst for the new model is the network processor. This
new device burst onto the scene a year ago and has already racked
up more than 100 design wins with routers and other networking
equipment. It replaces the custom silicon that Cisco and others
painstakingly develop for each new product. Intel, Motorola, IBM,
AMCC (through its recent purchase of MMC Networks), Lucent and
Vitesse have all jumped into the network-processor market, and
several start-ups are also developing products."
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