With a third of the world’s population on Coronavirus lockdown, the Internet has become their de facto connection to the outside world. Spikes in Internet traffic have been dramatic, and service providers are publicly reporting traffic increases ranging from 30% to 60%. Fortunately, these traffic spikes haven’t broken the Internet (yet). Most networks have been designed with extra capacity and resilience to accommodate the recent increase in traffic.

The ability to ‘boost’ extra network capacity on an as-needed basis, can be partially attributed to the new ways our customers procure the equipment they need. The standard operating mode for many service providers has been to plan well into the future, buy the equipment they think they will need, and install it. Any ‘buffer’ capacity to accommodate emergencies is purchased upfront and lies dormant most of the time. Unfortunately, this mode of operation results in unproductive CAPEX at rest. Additionally, if an unforeseen disaster occurs (like COVID-19), service providers would need to purchase even more equipment and roll out crews to install it, adding expensive OPEX and taking weeks.

To help service providers add more capacity economically and with greater agility, we announced flexible consumption models (FCM) two years ago. These consumption models dramatically improve economics and offer the following benefits:

  • Reduce upfront capital: Now, service providers can buy equipment that is ‘fully-loaded’ with extra capacity, install it all at once, and only pay for what they need. When more capacity is required, it can be ‘turned on’ remotely with a software license and paid for at a later date.
  • Utilize capital efficiently: Traditionally, licenses were fixed to specific hardware. With Cisco FCM, licenses can be shared across equipment network-wide to pool resources more efficiently. For example, if a location sees a spike in demand, extra capacity can be pulled from devices in a low traffic area and moved where needed.
  • Protect investments – Current software purchases extend to next-generation hardware, if platform changes are needed to meet capacity growth over time.

With the COVID-19 Coronavirus, service providers are dealing with an unprecedented situation. There are some parts of networks that are running so hot that immediate action is necessary. Other parts of the network are holding steady but proper planning is needed right now to manage future capacity growth. With Cisco flexible consumption models, service providers can aggressively plan for worst case scenarios, pay only for what they need, and easily expand capacity in minutes. This is our new normal. We are here to help.

Cisco will offer additional FCM software license capacity, free of charge for the next 3 months. This offer is being extended to all SP routing customers across the Cisco 8000, ASR 9000, NCS 5500, NCS 540, NCS 560, and ASR9000 BNG portfolios. The additional license capacity will be available through June 30, 2020. If you’re interested, contact your account representative to find out more.


Jonathan Davidson

EVP and General Manager

Cisco Networking