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Cisco Unveils New Router Family For Service Providers

Cisco has unveiled its new Network Convergence System family of routers, aimed at helping service providers ready their networks for the data explosion expected from the Internet of Things
Cisco unveiled a new series of routers aimed at helping service providers scale their networks to accommodate the growth in Internet traffic being driven by mobile devices, video and cloud applications, and machine-to-machine communications.

The new family of routers, dubbed the Cisco Network Convergence System (NCS), creates a network fabric that Cisco says will arm service provider networks with the bandwidth and scalability they need to support these jumps in traffic. NCS is also, however, designed to help service providers prepare their networks for the burgeoning Internet of Everything, which Cisco said is creating trillions of programmable events or "conversations" between people, applications and devices.

"If you think about ultra HD video, for example, or cloud, which all of our customers are doing and then machine-to-machine is also adding to the kind of scale that's needed, and then mobility," said Surya Panditi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Service Provider Networking Group, Cisco, at a launch event for NCS. "In order to have these supported, you need to evolve the programmable networks."

NCS marks Cisco's second investment in the Internet of Everything this week. The networking giant introduced new physical security products also targeting the trend.

The NCS family—which consists of the NCS 6000, NCS 4000 and NCS 2000—works alongside Cisco's Carrier Routing System (CSR) and Aggregation Services Router (ASR) families, creating a network overlay fabric that, according to Cisco, acts as the "central nervous system" to the service provider network, managing and moving network and compute resources to wherever they're needed, all in realtime.

NCS also converges IP and optical networks and is designed to integrate with Cisco's Unified Computing System converged infrastructure offering. This, according to Cisco, allows for further scalability, by allowing NCS to move control plane functions onto UCS servers if system scale is exceeded in one part of the network.

According to Cisco, when NCS is deployed as part of the Cisco ONE Service Provider Architecture, it can reduce service providers' total cost of ownership by up to 45 percent.

At the heart of the NCS family is Cisco's new nPower X1 integrated network processor, a custom piece of Cisco silicon that houses 4 billion transistors on a single chip. The processor, which is also used in Cisco's CRS-X router, has throughput speeds of 400 Gbps, and integrates packet processing, traffic management and input/output capabilities onto one piece of silicon.

Cisco said nPower X1 is the first-generation chip within the nPower family.

The NCS 6000, which includes what Cisco called the industry's first 1-Tbps line card, and the NCS 2000, are shipping now, Cisco said. The NCS 4000, which supports 400 Gbps per slot, will be available in the first half of 2014.

Cisco said a handful of service providers, including the Australian-based Telstra, have already deployed NCS platforms.
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