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Cascade - This was an Ascend product too.

Ascend bought the Cascade company for small money (it was round about 1996 or 97) and the large Cascade routing switches were integrated into the Ascend line of routers/switches. The Cascade routing switches should be the top of the line products with huge features.


A medium sized internet company (ISP) in Frankfurt / Germany bought (leased) 7 of them and got an another one for free. And as you know, we have E1 lines in Germany, not T1. It is important to know, that T1 is 1.5Mbit/s and E1 is 2Mbit/s and full duplex all the time.


It was 1999 to 2000, the time of growing with the internet and most bigger organisations like banks and US operations in Frankfurt liked to have one or more 2Mbit/s nailed lines to start first activities. So the dump line was rent from the German Telecom and the bridge to the internet backbone was ordered from any local provider.

A mess, these Cascade routers with E1 ports

So the Casacade was equipped with many 16port E1 boards. Now, years later, we got the information, that this board was designed for a total bandwidth of 16 x 1.5 Mbit = 24 Mbit, but 32 Mbit/s was sold.


So the result was, every morning at 10 or 11 or evening at 3pm or 4pm during (internet-) rushhours at least one of these E1 ports did crash (blocking all traffic). In a normal routing unit, it seems to be no problem, resetting that device and seconds later . . . . .


But inside the Cascade router, the reset was taking or eating between 4 and 6 minutes for each 16port board. That was never published or announced as a warning or so.


So during the rushhour day for day, when stress came up anyway, the senior admin had to make a very crazy decision, to make one customer angry and sad or to make 15 customers angry and sad.


At the end that was a decision to loose one customer after the other, not makeing a reset or loosing the other 15 curtomers over a short time period.


However, what ever was decided, it was wrong and terrible and it did slightly kill the customer base of these profitable lines. The known ISP sold the traffic charged by gigabytes for much money (it was 1999).


At the end (2001) most of the cashcows had left this terrible stability of a professional provider. And nobody was responsible for the dissaster. Ascend was sold to Lucent for 19.3 billions of dollars and this problem was not transfered to the states. And the service in France was closed.


However, making some more mistakes, this provider went into bankrupcy. Now in 2005, it is forgotten what happened with the Cascades and why.

So take care, running Cascade routing switches withE1 ports.

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