7200 series routers are flexible, powerful, and compact. They typically are provisioned with single or dual AC or DC power supplies, a network processing engine CPU (NPE), an IO card (not needed with the newer NPE engines), and optional port adaptors (PA). The 7206VXR, along with the 7204VXR (identical except with just 4 PA slots), can handle virutally all types of trunk connections, whether ATM, POS, OC3, T1/E1, RJ, and others, and even support data processing and content handling, including voice/data/video/fax. The 7206VXR can be used as either a core or edge router, and if traffic demands begin to exceed this router's capabilities, users can consider (1) upgrading the NPE engine or (2) moving up to a 7304 or 7600 series high power router. Helpfully, most PA cards installed in the 7206VXR can be used in both of these higher level routers. Related products include the Cisco 7301 (a 1U NPE-G1 version), and the 7246VXR and 7304 (higher powered versions of the 7206VXR.
Featured Products » 7206VXR High Power Router
The primary consideration in provisioning a 7206VXR is the processing engine, with the NPE-300 at the entry end, NPE-400, NSE-1, NPE-G1, or NPE-G2. For the NPE-300, NPE-400, and NSE-1, an IO card is also required, which provides both ethernet connections and extranal storage (PCMCIA etc). The NPE-G1 and G2 integrate this function. While there are several IO cards, pricing has fallen to the point that the best choices are the IO-2FE or IO-GE/E, with (respective) 2 fast ethernet ports and 1 gigabit ethernet and 1 standard ethernet port.
The processing abilities of the three main NPE boards vary substantially: NPE-300 (240 MBPS), NPE-400 (320 MBPS), NPE-G1 (800 MBPS) and NPE-G2 (1600 MBPS). Prices also vary dramatically, and for many uses the NPE-300 or 400 is sufficient. As mentioned, The G1/G2 also eliminate IO card requirements since they have 3 10/100/1000 built-in ethernet ports>.
Featured Products » NPE Engines
Port Adapter Cards
There are dozens of PA cards that can be installed in the 7206VXR. Most of these are devoted to various types of trunking, including the popular PA-2FE-TX (2 fast ethernet ports), PA-GE (gigabit GBIC port), PA-2T3+ (DS3 circuit ports), and PA-MC-8T1 (multichannel 8 T1 interface ports) as well as higher level cards such as the PA-POS-1OC3 or 2OC3 (for handling OC3/STM interfaces) along with the PA-MCX-8TE1+ (8 T1/E1 ports PLUS voice processing DSPs plus SS7 interconnect capabilities). These are just examples of the many types available. Click here for Cisco's list of available PA cards. Although the 7206VXR has 6 available slots for PA cards, the router can only handle a certain number of PA cards based upon the NPE engine in use and the "bandwidth points" (every card is different) cards take up in aggregate. Some cards may use the full bandwidth points capability of an NPE by themselves. Refer to Cisco for details, and be aware of the need to confirm the functionality of a particular combination of PA cards and NPE engine.
Featured Products » Port Adapter Cards
Input Output Cards
While the NPE-G1 and G2 integrate the traditional IO card functions (and the IO slot is left blank), IO cards are required for the NPE-300, NPE-400, and earlier models (including the NPE-225, the highest rated NPE engine for the earlier nonVXR versions of the 7200. Nowadays, you'll still see an occasional 7200-I/O card without any ethernet ports, or a 7200-I/O-FE with 1 fast ethernet port, the most common ones now in use are the 7200-I/O-2FE (2 fast ethernet ports) and IO-GE/E (1 gig port and 1 standard ethernet port).