Cisco bolts together enterprise and industrial edge with new routers

Cisco extends Catalyst industrial networking gear with new routers to enable a united architecture across edge-computing sites, including branch offices, substations, remote operating locations and fleets.

Industry 4.0 / Industrial IoT / Smart Factory
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Cisco has extended its family of Catalyst networking gear with routers designed to integrate remote, industrial-edge network resources.

The new Catalyst 5G Industrial Router family includes three modular routers and a gateway that run Cisco's core operating system, IOS XE, and support a variety of network access technologies such as SD-WAN, Wi-Fi 6, 5G, 4G, Private LTE, FirstNet and Wi-SUN. The ultimate goal is to let customers tie together enterprise networks and SD-WANs with remote operations so IT can build, secure and manage a unified edge.

Typically, organizations connect industrial edge environments in isolation, resulting in a fragmented network architecture, increased security vulnerabilities, and isolated data, wrote Vikas Butaney, vice president and general manager of Cisco IoT, in a blog about the new systems.  

As organizations accelerate digitization, they need a way to simplify management and security across the network and edge devices. "With our new routing portfolio, customers can have a united architecture across their diverse edge use cases from HQ to remote edges. The same rich functionality and robust security models across your entire business – from campuses and branch offices to substations, remote operating locations, fleets, on-the-go connected assets," wrote Butaney.

"Now utilities can securely connect their edge to reduce outages, integrate renewables, and improve grid resiliency. Transportation systems providers can optimize routes for first responders and share real-time location and safety information with travelers. Whatever your business, you can connect all your networks with one common architecture and holistic enterprise-wide security approach," Butaney stated.

The modular routers, including the Catalyst IR8100, IR8100 Heavy Duty Series and IR8300 Rugged Series Router, can be customized, and all can have storage or CPUs upgraded in the field.  

For security, the routers support Cisco's Cyber Vision package that allows for the automated discovery of industrial assets attached to Cisco's extensive IIoT networking portfolio. Information gathered by Cisco Cyber Vision can also be used to develop segmentation policies in existing Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) for access control and segmentation and DNA Center for centralized management.

Cyber Vision supports Cisco Edge Intelligence software to simplify the extraction of IoT data at the network edge. As a package, IT and operational technology (OT) groups will be able to work together to provide advanced anomaly detection in IIoT environments.  The architecture understands what normal industrial traffic looks like, and if something is out of the ordinary, IT and OT security folks can be notified immediately, according to Cisco. 

The routers extend Cisco's ruggedized industrial networking portfolio, which includes the Catalyst IE3x00 series of Gigabit Ethernet switches and IR1101 Integrated Services Routers that Cisco says were purpose-built for IoT environments. All are modular so customers can upgrade to new features such as 5G without ripping and replacing.

The new Cisco IoT Gateway Series supports Cisco's cloud-based IoT Operations Dashboard, a cloud-based provisioning and management platform for edge devices.

The new Cisco Catalyst Industrial Routers and gateway will be available this month.

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