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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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A Week In the Life of the ASR 9000 Series

A Week In the Life of the ASR 9000 SeriesWe had an excellent time in Las Vegas at Cisco Live 2011, despite outside temperatures breaking 100 degrees (38C) at times!   While things were hot at the show, things were just as active on the customer momentum front for the Cisco ASR 9000 Series.  We were able to announce two new customers that join the more than 500 customers of the platform worldwide:  PCCW in Hong Kong and Polish Telecom (Telekomunikacja Polska, or TP Group). Despite their geographic distance, both operators share common challenges. Growth in video and mobile traffic is driving the need to each to add additional capacity -- as highlighted by our Visual Networking Index report -- yet competition from alternative providers makes it difficult to simply raise prices to pay for new networks.

In the case of Polish Telecom -- which also announced the deployment of the Cisco CRS-3 in the core -- the company sought to invest in a cost effective, robust and powerful broadband infrastructure that, as they proudly say, will help shape Poland’s economic and social future. The new network will support enhanced video, mobile, and cloud computing services. Mobility has been a huge growth area for TP. They’re the mobile market share leader in Poland under the Orange brand and have seen significant increases in smartphone penetration over the past 12 months by offering affordably priced Android-based handsets. This is driving up mobile Internet usage and the company is upgrading their mobile network to support faster data transmission with HSPA2+. On the wireline side, TP is rolling out VDSL “fiber to the curb” which will bring broadband speeds up to 40 Mb/s and higher, along with more video channels for their half-million plus TV subscribers . Ultimately this will result in better customer experiences, and hopefully for TP, lower churn and reduced operating costs.

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Diving Deeper into the ASR 9000 System

Much of the activity on this side over the past month has been around the introduction of the ASR 9000 System.  As I highlighted in my earlier post, the System is Super & Simple, creating a new standard of performance -96 Tbps for the Edge (and a new standard for efficiency) - delivering up to 70% cost savings than competitive platforms, which translates to bottom line benefits for the providers.

In fact, the list of the customers which are taking advantage of the benefits delivered by the ASR 9000 is not only in excess of 500, but is continuing to expand.  NTT Plala, Tata, Comcast, Cox, and Fastweb were announced last month, with more anticipated soon.

But in the midst all of the press activity around the news and momentum the platform is having with customers, we are also able to sit down with a range of industry and financial analysts to dive deeper about what the ASR 9000 System can do for a service provider’s network and business.

Brendan Gibbs, our Senior Director of Product Marketing for our SP Edge Routing Portfolio and an all-around great guy, had the chance to sit down in a “hot-seat” session with ACG Research’s co-founder Ray Mota (who, while also a nice guy, is pretty intimidating, too, since, as a former elite baseball player, his hands are so big he could palm my face…and because of the fact that he has a chair that in and of itself is called a “hot seat”) for a discussion into the details of the ASR 9000 System announcement.

Among the topics they cover in the video are:
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Addressing the Service Provider Transition to IPv6: The Changed Landscape (Part 1 of 4)

IPv6 has been top of mind lately, with World IPv6 Day on June 8th that provided a global-scale test flight of IPv6 technology for the purpose of testing and data collection. Cisco also recently announced that French service provider SFR is using our Carrier Grade v6 solution to offer IPv6 services to their residential customers, while still preserving their existing infrastructure investments.

Many people still have questions on the issues and options associated with making the evolution to IPv6. Below, in part one of a four part series, Cisco’s Kelly Ahuja, SVP Service Provider Chief Architecture Office and ACG Research’s Managing Partner Dr. Ray Mota discuss the changed landscape which network operators face that is driving the adoption of IPv6 technology. Ray does make an interesting comment about 2011 being the year of the tablets - and not just for consumer use, but also for business applications. Another point that Ray makes with which we agree is the need for network operators make a near term plan which extends or preserves the use of existing IPv4 assets, and a longer term plan which can migrate services to IPv6 - seamlessly - when needed.

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