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IP/MPLS Access Infrastructure – Enabling Pay-As-You-Grow Economics

- June 29, 2010 - 2 Comments

Contributed by Shailesh Shukla, VP/GM Mobile, Access, Routing and Services Business Unit

The FIFA World Cup craze is sweeping the globe as the quarterfinals near, even here in the United States, thanks in part to the next generation of Internet technologies – enabling fans to watch the action at work, at home and on the move.  It was disappointing to watch this past weekend’s match end in defeat for the USA, but catching a glimpse of Mick Jagger filming the US goal with the Cisco Flip was heart warming and an example of how technology is creating new consumer experiences. Several media broadcasters and service providers have leveraged the Internet, giving viewers the ability to watch when they want and how they want – games streamed live to any screen, unique content such as ESPN using Cisco TelePresence to host interviews, and even 3D.

While the proliferation of IP-aware consumer devices like smart phones and iPad’s are enabling these new experiences, they are also exerting significant pressures on an operator’s current access infrastructure. Emergence of video, mobile, and cloud compute services are presenting new revenue opportunities for the service provider, but they can only capitalize on them if they have deployed cost optimized, carrier grade IP access infrastructure. Neotel, part of the Tata Communications global network, realized the opportunities by early investment in the IP NGN Carrier Ethernet system with innovative, feature rich and cost optimized access solutions. Last week, Cisco announced the availability of the ME3600X and ME3800X – compact, purpose built, and feature rich Ethernet Access Switches – extending 10GE MPLS capability to the Carrier Ethernet access and pre-aggregation space. These two new platforms bring the proven technology of larger aggregation routers such as the Cisco ASR 9000 and Cisco 7600 into a small form factor to address the power and space constraints of remote and low-density points of presence, but at a more cost-effective price point.

ME3600X and ME3800X bring the following key benefits to the operator:

  • Flexible pay-as-you grow economics supporting 1GE to 10GE upgrade without the hardware swaps, and the industry leading hierarchical quality of service (H-QoS) capabilities for video, mobile, and cloud services
  • Cost efficient, small fixed form factor (1RU), with the lowest power consumption at 3.5 watts per GE
  • Operational simplification by economically extending 10GE MPLS in the access and enabling unified MPLS control plane

Additionally, ME3600X and ME3800X support Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) timing services for a converged access infrastructure delivering business, residential, and mobile services over a single platform. The integration of the SyncE feature enables mobile operators to preserve clocking over packet infrastructure which otherwise would be carried over a TDM network requiring upkeep of two autonomous service networks. Converging mobile services over packet infrastructure builds operationally simpler, cost optimized, scalable all-IP backhaul infrastructures and addresses the pay-as-you grow network capacity needs demanded by the current and future generation of smart devices. The ME3600X and ME3800X complement the MWR 2941 cell site routers, Cisco ASR 9000 and Cisco 7600 aggregation routers to address current and future capacity demands.

To learn more about Cisco’s IP NGN Carrier Ethernet system and innovative access solutions, tune in to our upcoming Cisco Knowledge Network on-line workshop on Tuesday, July 27, 2010.

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  1. The Cisco ME 3600X is designed and optimized for access applications (e.g., available in a copper or fiber configuration, 1GE to 10GE uplink scalability, pay-as-you-grow software activation options, etc.), while the Cisco ME 3800X is designed and optimized for remote aggregation applications where the footprint and scale of a full-size aggregation platform (e.g., Cisco ASR 9000, Cisco 7600) cannot initially be justified, but the CE feature set is still required. That said, both products do support common features to facilitate ease-of-use, service deployment and field support (e.g., small 1RU footprint, highly flexible, efficient and interchangeable power/fan modular design, etc.).

  2. What are the main differences between the 3600x and 3800x. It doesn't seem clear from the data sheets?