Customers could first purchase and install the Cisco 7200 Series Router in 1996. At its launch, it was a "state of the art" midsize enterprise router providing unparalleled performance and utility, processing 100,000 packets per second. The router's chassis incorporated a power supply, cooling fans, and power distribution systems. The engine, line cards, and networking features could be upgraded over time.
During its 10-year life, the 7200 Series chassis has remained virtually unchanged, with one or two installed power supplies that provide 280 watts. The components, however, have been progressively upgraded to add networking functions such as voice, security, traffic engineering, and quality of service (traffic prioritization). With the 2006 introduction of a new processor board, the latest evolution of the 7200 Series is now capable of processing 2 million packets per second using the same capacity power supplies, which is more than 20 times more efficient, in terms of data processed per watt of energy used, than the first model.