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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Cisco Systems launched a new edge router aimed at improving Web speeds as more consumers download movies online and access the Internet with mobile phones. 


The network equipment maker, which forecasts Internet traffic to nearly double every two years through 2012, said the ASR 9000 edge router would provide six times the capacity of competing products from rivals like Juniper Networks Inc.


The launch comes amid a growing focus on edge routers, which are placed at the periphery of a service provider’s network and closer to the actual user. In many cases it is the meeting point of wireless and wireline networks, and used by cable and phone companies to deliver Web access to mobile phones or IPTV (Internet protocol television) services.


The ASR 9000, with a starting price of $80,000, will come in six- and 10-slot versions, Cisco said. Several U.S. and European service providers are already testing the product.


Suraj Shetty, vice president of marketing for Cisco’s worldwide service provider marketing organization, said companies could use the router to manage networks efficiently. For example, companies selling video-on-demand services can store videos at the edge of the network rather than at the core, meaning faster downloads for consumers and less pressure on the overall network.


He said he expected solid demand despite the weak economy.


"The ASR 9000 provides all kinds of efficiency," he said, "and that’s exactly what customers are looking for."


(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)