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Texas Lone Star Network Deploys the ASR 9000 for State-wide Services

Although well known for oil and cattle, Texas is home to many high technology companies (including the Cisco campus of yours truly), and is the largest clean energy (wind) producer in the USA. It’s also got a booming economy that needs advanced telecommunications services to all parts of the state. 

TLSN connects Cisco ASR 9000 Series routers with 10G optical wavelengths enabled in the Cisco DWDM backbone network

To that point, we recently talked with the team at Texas Lone Star Network (TLSN). Located just 50 miles northwest of  the capital of Austin, TLSN operates a Cisco DWDM fiber network spanning over 3000 route miles offering wavelength, Ethernet, and SONET services to its 39 consortium company members, national carriers, wireless carriers, regional cable TV operators, colleges and the federal government. Earlier in the year they made the decision to upgrade their network with a deployment of Cisco’s ASR 9000 Series routers.

TLSN has connected the new ASR 9000 routers with 10G optical wavelengths enabled in the Cisco DWDM backbone network. The enhanced network provides them the foundation for new, revenue generating services, including cloud computing, cell backhaul, and IP/MPLS virtual private networks. In particular, cell backhaul is expected to be a growth area because of the number of 4G deployments going on in Texas right now.

“With the rapid growth in customer demand for higher capacity , driven especially by video, mobile, and high speed data services, we had to scale our network, but we had to also watch our operational expenses. Leveraging our new Carrier Ethernet platform we’re able to offer new services cost effectively to our member companies and customers  to ensure that technologies such as telemedicine and distance learning are available to any community in the state. Plus, with our Texas-wide footprint we can offer both a wide range of highly available services coupled with a unique footprint that other providers can’t match.”
Brad Seymour, General Manager, TLSN

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Cisco Live! Showing Off 100GE on CRS-3 and ASR 9000 Series

Cisco ASR 9000 and Cisco CRS-3Following the announcement of the ASR 9000 System last month, it was not too surprising that one of the most popular demos at Cisco Live in Las Vegas was the Service Provider IP NGN pod. For this event we had a setup which included 100GE interfaces connected between an ASR 9000 (edge) and a CRS-3 (core). Ultimately over the course of the show we totaled over one thousand 100GE customer engagements, and nearly 200 ASR 9000 Test Drive (better known as “Robot Arm”) demonstrations.

Capability to support 100GE is something that we see consistently in customer RFPs, even if they intend to deploy 10GE initially. It’s all about investment protection while (in some cases) they wait for the cost of 100G to be more competitive with using multiple 10GE links. Given the cost of 100 Gbps pluggable optics, it’s amazing to hold in your hands something so small and plain that sells for the cost of a luxury car.

Also a hit was the award winning Cisco ASR 9000 Test Drive, about which I’ve blogged before. This of course was physically located in San Jose, and streamed to Cisco Live while being controlled on the show floor by the users. (A true, but little known fact – the inspiration for the Test Drive came from toy heat engine known as the “drinking bird”. We liked the idea that the IOS XR-enabled ASR 9000 keeps running much like a perpetual motion machine).

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Addressing the Service Provider Transition to IPv6: An Industry Framework (Part 2 of 4)

One of the hot topics at Cisco Live 2011 last week was around the topic of IPv6 deployment and how to handling the exhaustion of IPv4 address space, both for Enterprise and Service Providers. Over fourteen sessions on the topic were covered, including such titles as How to Convince your Boss to Deploy IPv6, Cisco on Cisco: Making the Leap to IPv6, and IPv6 Planning, Deployment, and Operation Considerations. When it comes to IPv6 implementation, there is no “one size fits all” design, which is why the Cisco CGv6 solution is intended to preserve existing network infrastructure investments, prepare for the transition to IPv6, and enable companies to prosper in the new IPv6 environment.

In the second video of our series on the Service Provider Transition to IPv6 with Kelly Ahuja from Cisco and Roy Mota of ACG Communications, we hear perspectives from cable providers Comcast (USA) and Rogers (Canada) on how they are making the transformation to an IPv6 network. Or as John Brzozowski, Distinguished Engineer & Chief Architect for IPv6 at Comcast, notes “V6 matters to everybody…” that it’s an “…industry, internet community challenge that everyone has to face.”

One critical point that John makes is the need to make the transition seamless despite the huge number of moving parts in the network. This was a key reason for Cisco’s Carrier Grade Network Address Translation implementation, which provides the scale and performance required to offer a simple way to immediately deal with IPv4 address exhaustion issues. Equally important is that many customers aren’t expected to flash-cut over to IPv4. Instead, the transition time will likely take years to ensure that Internet end users are not adversely affected by the migration.

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Cisco Leads the way in standardizing IP Video delivery through MPEG DASH Specification

The share of time-shifted content as compared to conventional broadcast TV programming has been on a continual upward trend.  One third of U.S. consumers currently use a digital video recorder (DVR) or similar device for time-shifting.  However, as on-demand programming becomes more popular as a substitute for typical time-shifting, more consumers are visiting the Web to access their favorite shows and movies on a computer or mobile device.  Consequently, the Web is quickly becoming a popular choice for on-demand digital TV that incorporates content downloads and streaming using Web protocols.

The Streaming of MPEG Media over HTTP Ad Hoc Group (now known as the Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) Ad Hoc Group) began working on the development of a specification and published a call-for-proposals in May 2010 to address this growing market.  After an initial evaluation period in July 2010, DASH Ad Hoc Group adopted 3GPP’s Release 9 as a baseline specification and began running several evaluation experiments. The DASH Ad Hoc Group is working on the standardization of the manifest file, delivery format, conversion to and from existing file formats, and the use of MPEG2 Transport Streams as a media format. The DASH Ad Hoc Group has also been coordinating closely with the 3GPP SA4 Working Group to better align their respective specifications in this area. Read More »

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Cisco at Verizon LTE Innovation Center Grand Opening

This past week, I attended the grand opening celebration of Verizon Wireless’ Innovation Center in Waltham, MA.  The center, which brings together companies and entrepreneurs alike, is designed to provide a collaborative, hands-on workspace to rapidly develop innovative products and services that leverage 4G LTE technology.

The grand opening was an exciting event and the center was filled with innovative demos and technology tours featuring all types of LTE connected innovations – from the connected home, connected car, gaming, digital juke box, video and even future innovations such as a connected bike and an LTE-connected robot.

Cisco is a Premier Participant and we have been involved since day one.  We are pleased to have provided many man-hours of expert resources to deploy Cisco Mobile Internet solutions to help Verizon Wireless establish this unique center of excellence for all things LTE.

At the center, we have many demonstrations and technologies on display including Cisco Mobile Videoscape, the Cisco Cius enterprise tablet supporting 3G and 4G LTE, Cisco TelePresense, LTE-Connected Enterprise Branch, LTE-enabled Digital Media Signage and Cisco RAN Backhaul and LTE Evolved Packet Core solutions. We’re pleased to also provide the Evolved Packet Core for the 4G LTE Innovation Center lab network – identical to the commercial network – for use by the ecosystem of technology developers accessing the center’s technical and business development resources.

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