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Packet Transport Nicely Wrapped (Happy Birthday CRS-3!)

It was no accident that Cisco won “Best Core” and “Best Network Infrastructure Provider” of the year at the Telecom Asia People’s Choice Awards. We talked elsewhere about the rapid adoption rate of the Cisco CRS-3, but what are some of the specific reasons behind its success?

The key factor is that today’s core networks must handle dramatic increases in bandwidth both cost-effectively and intelligently. It is simply not enough to transport traffic faster and cheaper. The massive volumes of video, mobile, and cloud services require intelligent IP delivery. The CRS has ability to scale with true, standards-compliant 100GE, 322Tbps multi-chassis capacity, along with superior network intelligence using Network Positioning System to help ensure that content is transported most efficiently. For its one-year birthday, the CRS-3 has added a new capability with a Flexible Packet Transport processor card optimized for Label Switching. It scales the core economically with fast switching, providing carriers the ability to deploy high-speed, agile transport backbones.

Global service providers can reduce costs by utilizing a single core platform to deliver a mix of routing, peering, and transport services. To illustrate the versatility benefits, imagine that a business customer is initially provisioned for a point-to-point connectivity service using packet transport. This is traditionally a lower margin service with tremendous cost-pressures. As that customer grows, they require a multipoint connectivity service with Unified Communications and Telepresence. This service upgrade with higher profit margins can be made quickly and easily without need of a separate platform. This alone lowers the total cost of ownership for capital expenses by 44% and operating expenses by 36% (see the white paper: Flexible Packet Transport: An Approach to Core Network Optimization.)

Eve Griliches from ACG Research spent some time with me last week in this video discussing the new capabilities on the CRS platform, the new market opportunities it enables for Cisco, and how it compares to the competition. You can also listen to the Investor Tech-Talk on ‘The Evolution of Core Networks’ and why a separate standalone MPLS switch is sub-optimal from an architectural perspective.

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For Service Providers, the Opportunity to MOVE to Greater Profitability

Mobile data traffic will surge through 2015, growing 26-fold to 75 exabytes per year.  A remarkable 66% of that traffic will be video!  (Source:  Cisco VNI Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, 2010-2015).  My family uses an iPad or iPhone to watch Netflix movies and YouTube video clips and I see a lot of smartphone and tablet users doing the same.

This explosion in mobile data and video traffic creates challenges for service providers and mobile operators.  First, to reliably provide a user experience that is “more” – more personal, more visual, more social, more collaborative, and more productive.  Second, to efficiently manage the sudden increase in data traffic while concurrently expanding the number and kinds of services offered.  AND, as if that weren’t enough, to do all this while decreasing costs and increasing revenues.

Definitely not business as usual… in fact, “challenging” may be an understatement.

Fortunately, the networks creating these challenges can also turn these challenges into opportunities with a new set of solutions we’ve named “Cisco MOVE” (Monetization, Optimization, and Videoscape Experience).   We asked ACG, a respected analyst firm, to verify Cisco’s MOVE value propositions.  Here are some of their key findings:

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