Cisco expands Carrier Ethernet for the metro

Cisco will expand its Carrier Ethernet solution to address video, mobile backhaul and business services traffic in metro networks.

Cisco is broadening its Carrier Ethernet solution in scope and capabilities to address increased video, mobile backhaul and business services traffic in metro networks.

While Cisco has offered Carrier Ethernet to telecom service providers for some time, it is now acknowledging market preference for Carrier Ethernet in metro networks. A year ago, Cisco's emphasis was still on backing IP/MPLS in the metro.

In today's market, service providers and equipment vendors are finding the most network growth in the metro area, as well as in access networks. "We've taken a look at helping people with video, mobility and business services, and Carrier Ethernet is the new de facto foundation to offer all [metro-area] services and transport them," said Ian Hood, senior product marketing manager for service providers at Cisco.

Cisco is projecting an overall 6X increase in IP traffic from 2007 to 2012, with the most growth in consumer Internet and IPTV/CATV. Mobile data (with the need for mobile backhaul), business Internet services and business IP WAN services will also show healthy growth. Emphasizing that Cisco isn't relevant to service providers only in the core IP router market, the company points to a recent Infonetics Research report that shows Cisco posted a 15% gain in combined IP edge and core router revenue. Synergy Research also said that Cisco's service provider edge router share grew by 5 points to 57.8% since the first quarter of 2007.

"The overall service provider edge and Ethernet markets are seeing sizable expansion as providers prepare their networks to handle growing traffic demands, said Synergy Research Chief Strategist Ray Mota.

Cisco's Carrier Ethernet hardware upgrades, available in Q4, include:

  • Doubled aggregation capacity of its 7600 series metro Ethernet router with a new 40 G IP-over-WDM line card (four ports of 10 G per interface), which is designed to help carriers minimize capital expenses associated with traffic growth. (Cisco announced IPoDWDM enhancements to its CRS-1 Carrier Routing System and XR 12000 Series Routers in July.) "What's key is putting new capabilities into existing equipment," Cisco's Hood said, which eliminate the need for carrier forklift network upgrades.
  • Increased switching capacity for its ME 3400 Ethernet access platform, which is most often deployed in multiservice buildings and combines business and consumer traffic. Cisco has also added security for business traffic. The new supervisor and line cards platform is designed to deliver Ethernet aggregation services, largely for consumers, and increases the ME 4500 platform's switching capacity by 2.5 times.
  • The new Cisco Mobile Wireless Router (MRW 2941) designed for mobile backhaul applications (2G, 3G and some 4G traffic) that has a redundant power supply and a cell-site router (the Mobile Wireless Router (MWR 2941) will support mobile transport over pseudowires for backhauling IP network traffic from the cell site over Carrier Ethernet, which carriers are expected to find more cost-effective than using TDM circuits for backhaul.

In conjunction with its hardware announcements, Cisco announced a network-availability service-level agreement for its Carrier Ethernet products that is negotiated individually with each service provider depending on the network configuration. Monthly information on downtime will be collected from alarms that come back in from the network.

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