Service providers have been working with governments for years to try to meet the need for faster, higher-capacity rural broadband. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made bridging this “Digital Divide” a top priority, directing more than $37 billion to this effort over the next ten years. However, the fundamental economics of rural broadband remain unchanged: when building infrastructure to connect small numbers of subscribers spread out over large, sparsely populated regions, it’s extremely difficult to realize a return on that investment.

Technology and funding alone are not enough to close that gap. You need to determine the right combination of solutions for a particular use case and region, and the right way to implement them, to get the results you expect. This can require extensive expertise, and answering all the questions ahead of time can be difficult—until now.

Cisco is delivering a new generation of network infrastructure technologies that provide more capacity, and greater flexibility, at a lower cost per subscriber. These technologies can make it much easier and less expensive for service providers to expand their offerings in rural regions. Now, you can experience them up close and in person at the brand-new Cisco Rural Broadband Innovation Center.

There, you can explore a wide range of rural broadband use cases and the Cisco technologies that enable them. You can experience how different solutions work together in a state-of-the-art lab environment that emulates the behavior and requirements of a real-world network. You can see firsthand how Cisco can help you meet the challenges of rural broadband and change the game for your customers and your business.


Inside the Innovation Center

Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Cisco Rural Broadband Innovation Center showcases the amazing things that rural service providers can now do with their networks. When you visit, you can get up close and personal with a wide range of new innovations:

  • Infrastructure as Code/Automation: One of the biggest barriers to delivering rural broadband services more cost-effectively is a reliance on antiquated, highly manual network provisioning and configuration models—and the high likelihood of errors that come with them. Today, service providers are exploring “infrastructure as code,” treating network functions as software rather than physical appliances, so they can deploy and change infrastructure configurations more quickly, accurately, and inexpensively. Now, you can see firsthand what this model can mean for your network teams, and how it can help you automate many of today’s slow, error-prone network operations. At the Innovation Center, you’ll see how you can continually update network capabilities in the same way the big web companies push out new software releases, rolling out new configurations iteratively, and testing and validating as you go. You’ll see how you can integrate with tools like Ansible and Gitlab to reconfigure your network on the fly and use Cisco Crosswork to automate your environment end to end.
  • Cisco Silicon One™: Check out Cisco’s new networking silicon architecture, Cisco Silicon One, up close and in action. Learn how our new generation of high-speed ASICs, drawing on the latest silicon fabrication techniques, can bring breakthrough capacity to rural subscribers. With new, high-capacity, and flexible networking silicon at the heart of your infrastructure, you can more cost-effectively shift to higher-speed interfaces as your network evolves, and support new technologies and use cases requiring greater throughput: 100 Gbps, 400 Gbps, 800 Gbps, and beyond. With billions of users worldwide still not connected, millions of new devices coming online, and new 5G services on the horizon, the ability to deliver this kind of capacity will be essential.
  • Disaggregating network functions to enable any use case: See how the latest virtualization and disaggregation techniques move network functions from dedicated hardware to general-purpose servers, where they can be managed and scaled elastically like any other cloud service. You’ll see firsthand how this flexibility makes it quicker, easier, and less expensive to deliver a wide range of use cases—residential broadband, business Ethernet, fixed wireless access, and more—to rural customers.
  • TDM-to-IP: Learn how TDM-to-IP solutions can build a bridge from your legacy networking technologies to new ones. You can drive down the power, cooling, and rack space requirements of legacy TDM equipment by virtualizing those capabilities and shifting them to more compact, efficient IP infrastructure. This eliminates the need to maintain separate infrastructures for TDM and IP services while freeing up significant backhaul bandwidth—a huge benefit in rural regions.
  • Routed Optical Networking: Why stop with converging TDM and packet networks? With a new Routed Optical Networking architecture, you can use high-capacity IP circuits and integrated transponder functionality to replace not just the TDM network, but the underlying dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) network as well. Explore how you can use statistical multiplexing and high-capacity transport to converge optical transport and IP over a common infrastructure,. See how this consolidation can simplify and reduce the costs of building and operating rural networks.
  • Segment Routing and Next-Generation Access Networks: Segment routing can radically reduce the complexity of traffic handling, and Cisco is leading the industry in driving its implementation. See firsthand how segment routing eliminates the need to strand bandwidth in seldom-used backup links in access networks—dramatically increasing the capacity you can deliver to rural customers. You’ll also see how segment routing makes it easier to serve rural regions, enabling a variety of access network topologies beyond simple rings.
  • Groundbreaking security solutions: Learn how Cisco innovations like Cisco next-generation firewall, Cisco Umbrella, and Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) can protect your customers and your network with more intelligent, automated security.

This is just a sample of the use cases and technologies you can explore at the Innovation Center. And, we’re continually adding more.


Reserve Your Spot

The new generation of Cisco broadband solutions can help you meet the needs of a growing at-home workforce, deliver more capacity to rural regions, and bridge the digital divide. Ready to see firsthand how these innovations can change the game for your network and subscribers? Schedule your visit to the Rural Broadband Innovation Center today.




Robin Olds

Business Development Manager

Service Provider - Americas