Cisco Systems officials are continuing to bring their networking capabilities farther from the data center, with the latest example being the company's new Cisco 819 ISR Machine-to-Machine Gateway.
The new Integrated Services Router (ISR), announced Aug. 23, dovetails with Cisco officials' idea of the "Internet of things," putting networking capabilities into machines not normally connected to the Internet, from ATMs and refrigerators to GPS systems, portable medical devices and vending machines.
The new router comes just as the idea of machine-to-machine (M2M) Internet connections is about to take off, according to Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior director for marketing for Cisco's ISR product line and Borderless Networks strategy.
"There is a lot of interest" in such technology, Lasser-Raab said in an interview with eWEEK. The M2M trend "is on the cusp of really big growth."
The idea is to enable businesses to use the Cisco 819 ISR gateway to extend the corporate 3G/4G wireless WAN services to devices located far away from a business' headquarters. Through the router, companies can improve the efficiency of their businesses-which, in turn, will help them save money, she said.
There are many uses, according to Lasser-Raab. An ATM machine, sensing it's getting low on cash, can send a signal to the main office alerting it to the situation. The system at the main office can see which trucks are on the road and signal to the one closest to the ATM to bring in more cash, a move that can save the bank time and money, she said.
In the medical industry, the router could enable portable medical services with remote patient monitoring, reducing the number of patient visits to the hospital. Vending machines with the router can discover and communicate with delivery vehicles to ensure popular drinks do not run out, while the technology could improve video surveillance at ATM machines.
Lasser-Raab said the demand for greater networking for M2M communication will only grow. According to Cisco's numbers, by 2015, there will be 25 billion connected devices, with much of the Internet traffic being generated by communications between machines.
What will be needed are products that facilitate that M2M communication, but also are rugged and small, so they can fit in remote places and can handle difficult environments that may see extreme weather or temperatures.
"Size is an issue ... and it does need to fit into a small device," Lasser-Raab said.
Remote management also is key in helping IT departments reduce the need for on-site maintenance, troubleshooting and other operating expenses.
The Cisco 819 ISR is lighter than the lightest Apple MacBook Air device and smaller in both length and width than the Apple iPad 2 tablet, according to Cisco. It's also available in hardened and non-hardened versions. The hardened model can hold up to temperatures as low as 13 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 140 degrees. It also can withstand shocks from falls, vibrations, dust, water and low power availability, the company said.
The router also is PVv6-ready, which will be particularly important in large-scale deployments, Lasser-Raab said.
Security features include support for firewalls, intrusion detection, content filtering and encryption for VPNs. In addition, the Cisco 819 ISR can be remotely managed with the Cisco Prime offering, the company said.
The router is available immediately, with the hardened version starting at $2,300 and the non-hardened model at $1,600.