Cisco has unveiled a “universal” silicon architecture that it claims will reduce the cost of network operations.

Cisco Silicon One is the first “single, unified silicon architecture that can serve anywhere in the network and be used in any form factor”, according to Cisco. It will be the new foundation for Cisco’s routing products.

Cisco is pitching the new silicon as a way to reduce costs by removing the need for multiple types of silicon across networks and in devices. That complexity results in inconsistent feature development, varied telemetry and operators spend longer testing new features across networks, says Johnathan Davidson, Cisco SVP and General Manager, Service Provider Business.

“Now, a single silicon architecture can serve different market segments, different functions, and various form factors for a unified experience that dramatically reduces costs of operations and time-to-value for new services,” Davidson says.

The first Cisco Silicon One chip, the Q100, can function faster than 10Tbps without compromising carrier-class capabilities, he explained.

Cisco also announced its first router that has the Silicon One Q100, the Cisco 8000 Series. It is designed for service providers and web-scale companies building and operating mass-scale networks.

Davidson says Cisco is investing in technologies like silicon photonics to speed up adoption of 400 Gigabit Ethernet (400G) switching.

“Optic costs matter. At lower interface speeds, optics were roughly 10 per cent of the total solution cost, and systems accounted for the remaining 90 per cent. At 400G and beyond, that equation flips. Optics become the dominant part of the total spend. This dynamic needs to change, a long-term strategy is required to make it easier to deploy both short-reach and long-haul optics solutions,” Davidson says.