Blog Post

Is Cisco’s latest gear the cure for what ails it?

Cisco has spent the last few months admitting its distraction in the market and cleaning house by dumping its Flip line of video cameras and its social media publishing software as it returns to its networking roots. Tuesday morning, the equipment vendor unveiled its latest in a line of gear that may indeed help save the company, as it tackles the challenges that beset the network as multiple devices hook into the Internet and deliver petabytes of traffic. The gear, an upgrade to its ASR 9000 family, increases both the capacity and intelligence of the overall network, while also enabling service providers to create a unified view of myriad distributed network elements across wireline, cellular and other types of networks.

First, the product news: Cisco is expanding the ASR 9000 series with the new ASR 9922 edge router and the ASR 9000v, which sits in the network aggregation layer. The new products, along with all other ASR 9000 products, will add Cisco nV (network virtualization) technology, which allows ISPs to manage all network operations from a single interface. The introduction of those products and the new virtualization tech also will help boost overall capacity in the network, to 96 Tbps.

That kind of capacity will soon become necessary, as Cisco’s own VNI research forecasts global Internet traffic will quadruple by 2015. That increase will be driven primarily by video, which is expected to grow to 62 percent of global Internet traffic in five years. With 96 Tbps of capacity, Cisco says the ASR 9000 family has the ability to enable networks to transmit the equivalent of 180,000 DVDs every minute.

The number of connected devices is also expected to grow to 15 billion, which will necessitate new ways to manage networks. As Om reported earlier this year, the growing number of connected devices is putting a strain on networks, which need to become more flexible and dynamic. Cisco is trying to provide that flexibility through its network virtualization technology, which will help operators to quickly deploy IPv6 services necessary to reach multiple devices.

The technology also simplifies the design and management of those networks with a unified control system. That means any ASR 9000 network operator can manage all edge, aggregation and access points in one place. Providing unified network management also comes with significant cost savings: Cisco claims that its equipment adds 70 percent opex savings over the competition, which would enable the system to essentially pay for itself in just one year.

According to Cisco, the ASR 9000v product is available now, with the ASR 9922 becoming available early next year. But existing customers won’t have to deploy all new gear to take advantage of Cisco’s new virtualization technology. Cisco says the 500 operators who have already bought ASR 9000 gear will be able to introduce the intelligence with a simple upgrade.