Branches' bigger role drives Cisco roll outs

Cisco is rolling out a router, switch and enhancements for branch-office networking.

Enterprise branch offices increasingly need the same IT tools that the head office has, and Cisco Systems is set to unveil branch networking gear this week to help fill that need.

The dominant enterprise network vendor is adding security and application-performance features for its branch offerings and rolling out a fixed-form-factor Integrated Services Router (ISR) and a managed switch for the outlying offices.

Organizations with dispersed sites are starting to make the IT setup consistent all around to boost productivity, according to Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala. In some cases, the smaller offices maybe doing a big part of the job, such as in an insurance company, he said. Their technology hasn't always reflected that.

"The application performance in the branches hasn't been at par with what you've had in the headquarters. ... or even the services available," Kerravala said.

To tackle application performance, Cisco is introducing its Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) in a module for the 3800 Series ISR. The module can speed up applications and make more efficient use of a network connection, allowing branch workers to work faster and enterprises to consolidate applications at a central site.

At Nanometrics, a wafer-making test and measurement equipment company with 20 locations around the world, IT director David Kizer came on board last year and started to make the IT infrastructure consistent across all sites. The company deployed a CRM (customer relationship management) application for the first time and also rolled out its ERP (enterprise resource planning) software company-wide, he said. Knowing what resources are available everywhere in Nanometrics helps the company operate more like a single unit than like a collection of workgroups, Kizer said.

To make the change possible, he rolled out the WAAS module on branch routers. Previously, data traffic had taken up as much as 90 percent of the WAN (wide-area network) connections to Nanometrics' branch offices. With the WAAS module, the data takes up just 20 percent to 30 percent of the bandwidth. That let Nanometrics deploy IP (Internet Protocol) telephony and shut down expensive circuit-switched phone lines, Kizer said. Also, branches can send application data back and forth to the central data center to maintain the same information in both locations, he said.

Cisco customers are putting more emphasis on their branch offices, giving them more decision-making power, partly because of globalization, said Inbar Lasser-Raab, a director of market management at Cisco.

The company's branch roll out Wednesday includes a variety of platforms and tools, including the following:

  • The Cisco 1861 ISR is a fixed-form-factor branch router with unified communications capability for as many as eight users.

  • The Cisco 2960 LAN Lite Series Switches come in three form factors and use a simplified Cisco IOS (Internetwork Operating System) image for simpler configuration.

  • The Cisco Intrusion Prevention System Advanced Integration Module (IPS AIM) can be added to ISRs to identify, classify and stop malicious Internet traffic.

  • Cisco Performance Routing (PfR) software, which can now be added to ISRs with some software feature sets, monitors multiple network routes to help companies get the fastest possible performance.

  • A software upgrade for the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller Module on 2800 and 3800 ISR platforms adds IEEE 802.11n capability for use with Cisco Aironet 1250 Series Access Points.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?