CTIA - Cisco adds 3G to branch router

Cisco is set to introduce on Tuesday a 3G module for its ISR (Integrated Services Router) line of branch and small-business routers

3G (third-generation) wireless will grow up at the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando this week, finding its place in Cisco Systems business routers.

The blue-chip networking vendor is set to introduce on Tuesday a 3G module for its ISR (Integrated Services Router) line of branch and small-business routers. The 3G Wireless WAN (wide-area network) High-speed Interface Card will provide a link to the Internet over the EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) or HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) networks of mobile operators that are working with Cisco, said Inbar Lasser-Raab, a director of marketing for network systems at Cisco.

Most customers are likely to use 3G only as a backup for when their main Internet connections go down, according to Lasser-Raab. But in becoming one of a variety of interfaces on the popular router, a set of technologies usually associated with fun phone features for consumers and on-the-road connectivity for travelling employees is making a leap. 3G has grown in both speed and coverage area over the past few years, to where Cisco says it is price-competitive with DSL (digital subscriber line) and cable modem access and faster than ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), which is commonly used for backup in Europe. As faster wireless data technologies such as WiMax appear, Cisco plans to introduce new models.

Initially, customers can use the module on the Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and AT&T Cingular networks in the U.S., as well as the Telefonica Moviles network in Europe.

The ISR is a modular router designed to bring capabilities including security, wireless LAN switching and VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) into branch offices, retail stores and small and medium-size businesses.

There is one caveat: VOIP calls to the outside world may not work, despite VOIP being a major selling point of the ISR. The module doesn't officially support VOIP, which requires low delay, and mobile operators aren't guaranteeing call quality, Lasser-Raab said.

As a backup, 3G could be more economical than some alternatives, according to analyst Michael Brandenburg at Current Analysis Inc. A large enterprise may get a discount on the connection if it has a big account with the carrier, he pointed out. However, if VOIP is required, they might treat it as a secondary backup, he said.

No other router company is offering such a module, according to Yankee Group Inc. analyst Zeus Kerravala. A wired backup such as ISDN is likely to go down along with the main connection anyway, he said.

"Being able to do it over another medium [airwaves] makes it a perfect backup technology for traditional leased-line access," Kerravala said.

The module is available in different models for HSDPA and EV-DO, with backward compatibility to slower technologies. It will be available in June through Cisco channel partners to customers who meet certain criteria, such as having adequate cellular coverage. U.S. list price will be US$850.

Also on Tuesday, Cisco is introducing a wireless LAN controller module for the ISR that can support eight or 12 access points, up from the current maximum of six. The new module will ship in May, priced at US$4,750 for eight access points and US$6,500 for 12.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?