Cisco Unveils Service Provider IP Strategy

In an effort to make greater inroads into the service provider market, Cisco Systems Inc. today announced three products slated to give carriers new and cheaper means of selling high-end IP-based services to the enterprise.

Together, the products aim to accelerate what Cisco envisions as a trend toward deeper integration of public and private, commercial and enterprise networks, officials said in a Webcast this afternoon.

The vision depends on the large service providers migration to packet-switched networking – something analysts have long said will take many years, particularly given the recent economic downturn. To promote the migration, Ciscos IP strategy is slated to help carriers reduce long-term costs and at the same time expand their markets – with scalable bandwidth and scalable services -- and expand their reach – with scalable networks.

To enable carriers to expand their markets, Cisco launched the 12404 Internet Router and the 12000 Series IP Services Engine. Touted as the smallest footprint 10 Gigabit router available today, the 12404 Internet Router enables scalable bandwidth because it takes up minimal space and power consumption, which is particularly critical for small points of presence. With the new router, carriers can deploy 10G services on a wider basis.

The 12000 Series IP Services Engine allows carriers to expand their offerings by stretching the IP backbone to the edge of a network, where the infrastructure must be the most adaptable and programmable. New line cards in the 12000 series, which are compatible with the 12404 router, are optimized for flexibility.

To help carriers to expand their networks cost-effectively, Cisco unveiled the 10720 Internet Router, which it claims is the only "purpose-built" metropolitan IP access router available. To address the general a shortage of bandwidth in the large carriers metropolitan networks, Cisco is trying to extend IP edge technology by integrating Ethernet, optical transport and IP services at the metro level. Carriers will be able to offer Ethernet services in multitenant buildings, including high-speed Internet access, LAN services, IP virtual private networks and voice over IP.

According to Sprint Corp. Vice President Christopher Clark, the 10720 router allows the carrier to extend its infrastructure directly to its customers premises.

The success of Ciscos latest strategy depends not only on carriers willingness to migrate to IP networking, but in turn, on enterprise users willingness to purchase the high-end IP services from carriers.