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Cisco: Introducing a New Era in Branch Routing

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Today Cisco is introducing a new addition to the Integrated Services Router (ISR) portfolio of branch routers. The ISR 1000 Series follows the new sleek design popping up across Cisco platforms, so it looks sexy, but that’s not why it’s so important. What’s so remarkable about the ISR 1000 Series is that for the first time it brings an architecture normally reserved for higher-end networking platforms down to a place accessible to branch offices of just about any size. Let me explain.

Multi-Processor Device Architectures

Higher-end network devices are built using lots of individual CPU cores working in parallel to process lots of complex features on a multitude of packets flying through the network. This sort of parallel pipelining allows for some advantages like excellent throughput even with highly complex features in the network. It does come with a cost, however, since coordinating all of those CPUs is complicated and expensive.

That’s why traditionally you’ve seen this architecture on high-end Service Provider core and Internet Edge routers like the Cisco ASR 1000 Series and even larger platforms where the cost and complexity is more easily justified. More recently, 2013 to be exact, we were able to bring this architecture, traditionally reserved for expensive custom ASICS, down to the ISR 4000 Series family of modular branch routers.

However, smaller branches with fewer employees haven’t been able to benefit from this architecture. It’s simply too complex and expensive to put multiple parallel processing CPU cores into a branch with less than roughly 100Mbps of throughput. In the Cisco world, these would be the portfolio of fixed Integrated Services Routers; so named because there are no modular interface slots and the interface choices are “fixed” at the time of ordering. Traditionally these would use a single CPU to handle all packet forwarding and feature processing. Simple and relatively inexpensive for those cost-conscious smaller sites.

Read the entire article here, Introducing a New Era in Branch Routing

Via the fine folks at Cisco Systems.

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