New Cisco edge routers optimized for IPv6 traffic

Cisco this week rolled out two routers designed to allow service providers to migrate to IPv6 and more capably support video, mobility and cloud offerings.

Cisco unveiled the ASR 9922 and ASR 9000v, two extensions to its 3-year-old Aggregation Services Router (ASR) line. The routers feature a new capability for the ASR line called Network Virtualization (nV) designed to allow service providers to blend the network edge, aggregation and access layers into a single logical  router, to simplify operations and accelerate service delivery, specifically for IPv6 applications.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: 10 things to know about the move to IPv6

Cisco predicts that by 2015, the number of network-connected devices will be more than 15 billion -- twice the world's population -- and the total amount of global Internet traffic will quadruple. This week's ASR 9000 extensions are intended to allow service providers to address these trends.

For the edge, Cisco introduced the 9922 and two new modules for the chassis-based system -- a two-port 100Gbps Ethernet card and a 24-port 10G Ethernet module. The 9922 is the largest router in the ASR family, at 43 rack units and a 22 slot chassis. Twenty of the slots can be used for line cards, while the other two house a route processor and a fabric card. The chassis can run two router processors for redundancy and seven fabric cards for 6 + 1 redundancy, all operating in active/active nonblocking mode.

The 9922 runs the same IOS XR operating system as the existing ASR 9010 and 9006 systems, and includes the following software features: Ethernet business services such as Layer 2 VPN and L3VPN, IPTV, Content Delivey Networks , and Mobile Backhaul transport networks. Layer 2 and Layer 3 Multicast, IP-over-DWDM, Ethernet OA&M, MPLS OA&M, Hierachical QoS, MPLS Traffic Engineering Fast Reroute, Multichassis Link Aggregation , and Cisco Nonstop Forwarding and Nonstop Routing.

The two-port 100G and 24-port 10G Ethernet line cards can also run in the ASR 9010 and 9006 systems.

For aggregation, Cisco rolled out the 9000v, a 1-RU device that functions as a remote line card for the ASR 9000 or ASR 9922 systems for both collocated and remote deployments. Each 9000v can be located up to 80km away from the host ASR system.

The 9000v supports 44 SFP based 10/100/1000Mbps subscriber ports and four SFP+ based 10G Ethernet network uplink ports. With the 9000v, service providers can offer Ethernet services using individual Ethernet Virtual Connections to carry traffic belonging to a specific service type or end user through the network. EVC-based services can be used in conjunction with MPLS-based L2VPNs and native Ethernet switching deployments.

The line cards support native bridging based on IEEE 802.1Q, IEEE 802.1ad, and QinQ VLAN encapsulation mechanisms and Resilient Ethernet protocol, which provides a fast-convergence mechanism for aggregating and connecting to Ethernet-based access rings.

When nV is activated, the systems in the 9000 family - including the existing 9010 and 9006 - can scale to 96Tbps, which is enough to download the equivalent of 180,000 DVDs every minute, or stream recordings of all Super Bowls, World Cup and Cricket World Cup matches ever played in less than a second, Cisco says.

Cisco also claims nV-enabled 9000 routers can lower operating costs by up to 70 per cent over competing systems by reducing the need for on-site setup, support and maintenance, and saving on additional hardware and software purchases. The virtualization feature also allows for singular point-of-service management, lower cost configurations and simplified deployment, enabling a return-on-investment in less than a year, Cisco claims.

To ease IPv6 cutover, nV on the ASR 9000's Integrated Service Module is designed to provide a single point for IPv6 deployment across thousands of devices. The addition of Cisco's Videoscape technology on the ISM adds caching, streaming and video monitoring to help service providers deliver and make money on video services.

Cisco's service provider customers say the migration to IPv6 won't be quite that easy but expect the new protocol to be ubiquitous soon enough.

"There will be some bumps in the road," says Jay Rolls, senior vice president of technology at Cox Communications. "It will be interesting to see how this plays out."

"The industry will pull together and it will take some time, but (IPv6) will be prevalent in a few years," says John Hoffman, head of Ethernet Product Management at Tata Communications.

The new routers - just like the existing ASR 9000s - will compete against Juniper's MX3D edge router line and Alcatel-Lucent's 7705, 7710 and 7750 Service Router platforms. Juniper is still waiting for Cisco to deliver capabilities it promised three years ago on the ASR 9000 line.

"Cisco has made claims about the ASR 9000 that they have not delivered against," says Mike Marcellin, vice president of marketing and business strategy. "Three years ago, Cisco announced the ASR 9000 platform, claiming six times the total system capacity of the nearest competitor and 400G per slot. It missed its ship target by one year and what they have delivered has never surpassed Juniper's MX3D in total system capacity or per slot capacity. In fact, it currently is at half the total system capacity and two-thirds the slot capacity of the MX3D."

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

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