Cisco Readies Flagship ASR 9000 for 5G, Multicloud

With explosive growth in internet users and IP traffic, Cisco upgrades its flagship ASR 9000 service provider edge-routing platform to meet impending 5G and multicloud demands.

Lynn Haber

September 11, 2018

3 Min Read
Cisco ASR 9000

Cisco on Tuesday announced several enhancements to its flagship ASR 9000 service provider edge-routing platform, used to manage and deliver billions of connections over the network. The enhancements include new automation software, a new fourth-generation networking processor, and an enhanced IOS XR network operating system. 

Additionally, the vendor is offering new, more flexible, licensing models to purchase capacity on demand. 

“With these advancements to the Cisco ASR platform, we are simplifying, automating and converging our networking technology for the 5G and multicloud era,” said Sumeet Arora, senior vice president of engineering, service provider network systems at Cisco. “We are committed to helping our customers deliver better experiences for their customers, enabling them to optimize the capex spend with an easy road map for network planning purchasing and optimization.”


Sumeet Arora

Sumeet Arora

The latest ASR 9000 edge-routing platform enhancements target the explosive growth in internet users, and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of IP traffic of 24 percent, from 2016 to 2021. 

“It does not stop here,” Arora wrote in a blog.

As people, devices, things and applications come online, the pace of innovation is accelerating at a rate never imagined before: 

  • It’s a multicloud world. Compute and content are 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 and autonomous cars.

  • Software platforms are harnessing the power of the massive amount of data unlocked from the network, enabling a new operations paradigm. 

For the more than 4,500 service provider customers using the ASR 9000, here’s a closer look at the new enhancements: 

  • Continued investment protection with IOS XR software flexible consumption model: Service providers are building their IP infrastructures with end-to-end architecture evolution in mind to support multiple revenue-generating services, as well as preparing for inevitable shifts in traffic. To support these goals, Cisco now offers network-wide, pay-as-you-grow license pooling, allowing ports on the new-generation line cards to be activated on demand, within deployed or new ASR 9000 chassis.

  • Customers no longer have to forecast capacity and purchase licenses on a site-by-site basis. Licenses can be dynamically allocated across global networks, optimizing capex spend and simplifying capacity planning with a full network view. 

  • Primed for automation to reduce operational expenditures: Powered by Cisco IOS XR software, the ASR 9000 is automation-ready. Service providers can now take advantage of the Cisco Crosswork Network Automation portfolio, a comprehensive, closed-loop, mass-scale automation solution that embraces multivendor networks. 

With the fourth generation of in-house-built forwarding and traffic management silicon chipset, Cisco is 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 bandwidth increase without having to change their existing ASR 9000 chassis, which provides investment protection. 

“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 location,” Arora writes. 

Finally, the platform offers advanced security by establishing 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.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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