The wide-spread adoption of the Internet is simply phenomenal. 2018 marks the year where the number of Internet users has surpassed half of the world’s population with 3.6B users. And, according to Cisco VNI, IP traffic will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24 percent from 2016 to 2021. It does not stop here. As people, devices, things, and applications come online, the pace of innovation is accelerating at a rate never imagined before:

  • It is a multi-cloud world. Compute and content is getting more distributed to the edge, enabling billions of devices and anytime-anywhere access to applications.
  • High-speed mobile broadband, further enabled by 5G, is powering new mass scale and real time experiences to end users – AR/VR, autonomous cars.
  • Software platforms are harnessing the power of the massive amount of data unlocked from the network, enabling a new operations paradigm.

With this rapid change, networks, and network operators, are faced with numerous challenges: explosive traffic growth, changing traffic patterns, content and compute requirements shifting to the edge, and unprecedented surge in connected devices to name a few. Service and content providers need unprecedented flexibility, elasticity, and scale from the network. Network infrastructure needs to enable capital and operational efficiency along with the ability to deploy new revenue generating services at a speed only automation can enable. Today, I’m pleased to announce a major enhancement to the ASR 9000 family with the availability of the fourth generation network processor that delivers one of the industry’s most comprehensive networking capabilities at high-speed, incredible power efficiency, and low cost-per bit that combine to make the ASR 9000 the router of choice for any role in a modern network. With its immense flexibility, the ASR 9000 platform is ready to help Service Providers address changing technology, business, and traffic conditions while protecting their investment.

Built to Last

With the fourth generation of in-house-built forwarding and traffic management silicon chipset, we are once again scaling the ASR 9000 platform to help Service Providers cope with bandwidth explosion. Over the past 10 years, the ASR 9000’s slot capacity has been increased by a factor of 80, up to 3.2Tbps from 40G. More importantly, customers can benefit from this stunning bandwidth increase without having to change their existing ASR 9000 chassis. This is real investment protection, and customers are praising it.

Engineered for New Architectures

The growth in traffic and need for operational simplicity are transforming Service Provider network architectures. It is critical that network infrastructure be designed with end-to-end architecture as well as the entire gamut of revenue-generating services in mind. Traditional Access and Aggregation networks will converge on an intent-based, programmable network capable of delivering all services (residential, business, mobile, cable, video, and IoT) on a common infrastructure. Simplicity, full programmability, cloud integration, and guaranteed service level agreements are fundamental new requirements. And to make these networks 5G-ready, network slicing and timing services are additional requirements. In a multi-cloud world, Peering networks must accommodate geographical dispersion, as well as huge traffic and content source growth that also impact end-to-end network architectures. Peering will move into metro and regional networks, where scale, environmental efficiency, automation, and security become paramount. ASR 9000 with IOS XR based segment routing technology as well as Cisco Crosswork Network Insights software enable efficient and smart peering for the multi-cloud era. At the Network Service Edge, business service termination requires granular service demarcation, service contract enforcements, security functions, and accounting. All of these functions need to be performed at scale and speed. The ASR 9000 is the flagship platform for Layer2 and Layer3 VPN services termination with deployments across the largest operators in the world. The scale and feature richness of the ASR 9000 with its fourth-generation network processor are the perfect match for the deep shifts occurring across network architectures:

  • Rich feature set with long-term investment protection allows Service Providers to evolve their current network(s) to a converged architecture at their own pace.
  • Segment Routing and EVPN simplify network architectures and equip them with the capabilities to deliver advanced network services faster than ever.
  • The ASR 9000’s fourth-generation network processor offers incredible power efficiency and low cost-per bit, so it can be deployed into smaller, power-constrained locations.
  • Network segmentation allows superior scale for interconnecting large data centers or delivering application-aware slices for 5G-aware networks. Cisco’s 5G Now! architecture enables Service Providers to build 5G-ready infrastructure today without needing a forklift as major shifts occur in technology, traffic, and business.


Optimized for Cost and Flexible Consumption

Power consumption is a growing part of the cost equation, and this is an area of specific focus when we design new high-density, high-bandwidth line cards. The new 32-port and 16-port 100GE line cards we are announcing today offer the capability to power down unused capacity, reducing power consumption down to 0.5W per gigabit. When installing high-density line cards, Service Providers value the flexibility to deploy capacity according to their real-world needs, so look for commercial offers permitting them to pay incrementally to expand capacity as demands for their consumer and business services rise.  Software license pool portability allows Service Providers to shift capacity to markets in demand as it helps them to lower initial investments required to incubate new services, and then reduce their costs as demand grows organically. Cisco’s new Flexible Consumption Model offers a pay-as-you-grow commercial approach that is aligned with Service Providers’ goals of service innovation, cost savings, investment protection, and sweating assets. Cisco is invested in each Service Provider’s success, and we are transforming our commercial offerings to provide new consumption models that offer:

  • Simple, flexible consumption models with Pay-As-You-Grow.
  • Investment protection with software license portability for future hardware upgrades.
  • Network-wide software licensing permitting capacity to be shared across the network.


Trusted for Advanced Security

To build a secure network, it’s critical to develop advanced security capabilities and services on a trusted platform. Our infrastructure security strategy starts with establishing trust at every layer of the networking stack and maintaining the trusted platform throughout its lifecycle. In the ASR 9000 platform, trust begins in hardware. The platform establishes a hardware root-of-trust for both software integrity and strong encryption within the IOS XR network operating system.  With hardware-rooted secure boot infrastructure, the IOS XR and ASR 9000 platforms provide significantly stronger protection against compromises of the firmware and operating system than typical firmware based secure boot infrastructures (such as those used in mainstream x86 platforms).  This, coupled with advanced runtime OS and control plane protections, allows the ASR 9000 platform unique capabilities to establish and maintain trust in exposed environments.

Primed for Automation to Reduce Operational Expenditures

Powered by the Cisco IOS XR, the ASR 9000 is automation ready and enables smooth integration into the full operational lifecycle – plan, design, implement, operate, and optimize with closed-loop capabilities for seamless optimization and remediation including support of model-driven programmability, performant telemetry, and support for zero-touch deployment. Service Providers can now take advantage of the Cisco Crosswork Network Automation portfolio – the industry’s most comprehensive closed-loop, mass-scale automation solution that embraces multi-vendor networks. Architecture plus automation now primes our customers for the most optimal cost footprint with operational agility.

For more information about this announcement, please visit the ASR 9000 landing page or watch this TechWiseTV episode.  


Sumeet Arora

SVP Engineering

Core Software Group - US