On March 12thCisco announced the ISR-AX and how Cisco is changing the game, reducing complexity and making it simpler for enterprises to deliver and manage application delivery to users. Cisco is expanding the role of our Integrated Service Routers (ISRs) to deliver application-centric networks that provide granular visibility, control, and optimization without additional devices or bandwidth upgrades – Cisco® Application Experience (AX) Router family is now a part of the ISR family of routers!  The Cisco ISR-AX Routers directly integrate Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS), Application Visibility and Control (AVC), Data/IPBase and Security services into a platform that is simple to order, configure, and deploy for secure, optimized cloud connectivity and branch-office routing.  The Cisco ISR G2 and ISR-AX Routers are based on the same hardware and software that you know and love and are deploying today. Today I wanted to go into the technical details of each of the components.

Cisco ISR-AX adds to the rich breadth of services available on the ISRs.   Similar to the other routers in the ISR portfolio, the ISR-AX Routers consist of three product families:  the Cisco 3900-AX, 2900-AX, and 1900-AX Series Routers.  From the Cisco 1921-AX through the Cisco 3945E-AX, the portfolio provides increasing performance and module slot density, and each router comes equipped and ready to deploy.  All ISR AX platforms include all required Application Experience (AX) licenses including:  IP Base, Data, Security, WAAS and AVC licenses. In addition, you can configure each platform for additional features, modules, interfaces, and equipment (for example, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express [Unified CME]) to match the needs of diverse branch offices running varying degrees of rich services.

Cisco® Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) Cisco ISR AX provides router-integrated, on-demand WAN optimization for branch offices. The Cisco Services-Ready Engine (SRE) Modules to enable WAAS and UCS-Express (UCS-E) modules to enable vWAAS (virtual WAAS) can be equipped on ISR 2911-AX platforms and higher, this decouples software services from the underlying hardware and can deliver WAN optimization as an on-demand service as required by business objectives and IT budget. This approach makes better use of existing investments while offering business agility.

Cisco WAAS Express which is a Cisco IOS® Software solution integrated into Cisco ISR-AX platforms to offer bandwidth optimization capabilities. Cisco WAAS Express increases remote user productivity, reduces WAN bandwidth costs, and interoperates with existing Cisco WAAS infrastructure. Each ISR-AX router includes WAAS Express with the Cisco 3900-AX also including a Right-to-Use (RTU) license for 2500 WAAS or vWAAS connections and a RTU license for 1300 WAAS or vWAAS connections for the Cisco 2911-AX Series platforms and later.

Cisco® Application Visibility and Control (AVC) provides a powerful and pervasive integrated solution for application visibility and control based on stateful deep packet inspection (DPI). With the Cisco AVC solution, ISR-AX Routers can identify applications within the traffic flow using DPI technology. They can collect various application performance metrics such as bandwidth use, response time, and latency. Then, using Cisco industry-leading quality of service (QoS), these routers can reprioritize critical applications or enforce application bandwidth use.  

Security enables standard encryption (VPN payload and secure voice) on the ISR-AX platforms. The ISR-AX security license is designed to comply with both local and U.S. export requirements for global distribution to all countries. This license enforces a curtailment on the maximum number of encrypted tunnels and the maximum encrypted throughput on the ISR-AX platforms. The security license limits the number of concurrent encrypted sessions and maximum encrypted throughput per device.  This limit helps ensure that the ISR-AX complies with U. S. government export restrictions regardless of the final destination country. 

The security license limits all encrypted tunnel counts to a maximum 225 tunnels for IP Security (IPsec), Secure Sockets Layer VPN (SSL VPN), a secure time-division multiplexing (TDM) gateway, and secure Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE) and 1000 tunnels for Transport Layer Security (TLS) sessions.   All threat defense and VPN features that are supported and available for configuration with the security license.

By packaging ISR-AX routers with Routing, Data, WAAS, AVC and Security, we have changed the economics to enable customers to easily and quickly deploy rich application services at scale across their enterprises from an integrated branch router.  This will simplify application delivery to users, further enable branch office consolidation and help speed transition to cloud based services and really change the game!  Check out this video and tell me what you think about the new Application Experience:




Adam Keller

Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking and Mobility