Cisco's NCS Router Is Aimed at the Internet of Everything

The infrastructure will act as the networking fabric that will unify data center resources as they handle the expected onslaught of Internet traffic.

Cisco Systems officials are launching a new networking platform aimed at helping service providers prepare for and address the expected explosion of Internet traffic brought on by the rapid growth of communications, not only between people and devices, but also between systems.

The networking giant’s Network Convergence Systems (NCS), introduced during a Webcast event Sept. 24, is designed to serve as a network fabric that helps converge not only networking devices as Cisco’s CSR core and ASR routers, but also the compute and storage systems as management platforms housed in service providers' massive data centers.

The end result will be service provider infrastructures that are more automated, flexible, scalable and cost-effective and can handle the expected surge of Internet traffic over the next several years, thanks to such trends as cloud computing, video, mobility and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

“It is allowing us to evolve existing service provider architectures into much more programmable and dynamic—almost autonomic—architectures,” Stephen Liu, director of service provider marketing, told eWEEK in an interview before the Webcast event.

This will become increasingly important as the industry moves into the Internet of Everything, where more things—from mobile devices to automobiles, appliances, industrial machines, health care systems and wearable computers—are connected to the Internet, generating a massive amount of communication between people, devices and machines.

Cisco CEO John Chambers has said the Internet of Everything—what other vendors call the Internet of Things—will be the next major transition in the technology industry, and that he believes his company has the breadth of technology and resources to become the key provider of the infrastructure backbone.

Cisco is predicting that by 2017, more than 1.4 zettabytes of data will be moving over the Internet. Cloud computing traffic will grow six times between 2011 and 2016, and by 2017, there will be 3 trillion video minutes per month on the Internet, Rob Lloyd, president of development and sales at Cisco, said during the Webcast. 3G and 4G broadband will account for 45 percent of all mobile Internet traffic by 2017, and M2M-driven “events” will reach into the trillions.

Being able to embrace and leverage these trends will help service providers take advantage of expected growth in a wide range of industries, from health care, which we will see grow to $30 billion a year, to manufacturing ($43 billion) and home technology ($120 billion), according to Cisco executives.

“Networks need to evolve,” by becoming more automated, scalable and distributed, Lloyd said. They need not only more bandwidth, but also more compute, storage and control capabilities to manage policies and program responses, all done faster, more reliably and more securely than can be done by humans, he said.

That’s where Cisco’s NCS comes in, he and other executives said. The three platforms within the NCS—the NCS 6000, 4000 and 2000—are all powered by Cisco’s new nPower X1 silicon, which was introduced Sept. 12 and holds more than 4 billion transistors, can offer multi-terabit levels of performance and handle trillions of transactions. Cisco also is putting the new networking chip into the CRS-X router.