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Managing Editor

Cisco pops products for next-gen IP nets

Dec 03, 20026 mins
Cisco SystemsWi-Fi

Cisco this week unveiled a bevy of products designed to convince service providers that they can profitably roll out new services on new and existing circuit, packet and cable infrastructures.

Cisco also announced a handful of carrier deployments of its offerings as proof points of its profitable new service initiative.

The new products include:

  • A line card for the Cisco ONS 15454 optical transport system that supports both private line and switched Ethernet services
  • Additions to Cisco’s cable modem termination systems (CMTS) to improve scale, performance and reliability
  • Enhancements and additions to Cisco’s IP telephony and multiservice integration architectures to support new services and service infrastructures, such as Metro Ethernet

The line card for the ONS 15454 is called the ML-series. It is designed to provide Cisco IOS-based Layer 2/3 packet intelligence to the SONET/SDH transport system for more efficient support of Ethernet-over-SONET services.

The ML-series includes two cards. One is a 12-port 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet module, the other a two-port Gigabit Ethernet blade. Each card supports Cisco IOS software services for packet processing, quality-of-service support, and management.

“Now I put a card in instead of a router,” says Deb Mielke, principal of Treillage Network Strategies. “That’s actually a good thing. That should cut your costs. This is the right thing even though, on carriers, (transport and routers) have always been separate operational groups. That’s the biggest stumbling block for this: politics.”

Cisco already offers two products for Ethernet-over-SONET services on the ONS 15454 — the E-series, which has been shipping since 1999, and the G-series, which began shipping earlier this year. Both support Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet private line services, but do not support the Layer 3, multimillion packet/sec performance, granular QoS and service level agreement capabilities of the IOS-equipped ML-series cards, Cisco says.

The ML-series will ship in the first quarter of 2003.

For cable multisystem operators (MSO), Cisco unveiled extensions to its uBR10000 and uBR7000 CMTS platforms. The extensions for the uBR10000 include a “high-density” DOCSIS processing card that supports five downstream and 20 upstream interfaces; an OC-48 WAN interface card with 50 millisecond recovery; and DOCSIS stateful switchover capabilities for non-disruptive recovery from line or equipment outages.

The enhancements to the uBR7000 are a new processor for the system, the MPQ1, which triples the performance of and supports more users than its predecessor; and interchassis N+1 failover for high availability.

The CMTS additions fit into uBR10000 and uBR7000 chassis already deployed by MSOs, Cisco says, so operators can leverage their existing investments and reduce capital and operational expenditures. They are also designed to provide the uptime necessary for provisioning voice service, Cisco says.

The new CMTS products will be certified as compliant with the PacketCable specifications early next year, Cisco says. This will help ensure that they support multimedia applications such as IP telephony, conferencing and a range of telecommuter services.

As for IP telephony, Cisco this week announced that several service providers in North America, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe are delivering IP-based voice, data, and video services to their business and residential customers via integrated Cisco product architectures. These architectures, which bind together several Cisco application and infrastructure offerings, are called Broadband Local Integrated Services Solution (BLISS), Voice Infrastructure and Applications (VIA), and Managed Voice Services (MVS).

FastWeb and Bredbandsbolaget are using Cisco BLISS, which addresses IP-based multiservice provisioning over Metro Ethernet, cable and T1/E1 infrastructures.

BLISS for Metro Ethernet, announced this week by Cisco, enables service providers to deliver Internet, local and long-distance voice and video services, and hosted services, such as network-based file storage, Cisco says. Components of BLISS Metro Ethernet include the access infrastructure, call-control servers, public switched telephone network (PSTN) interconnect through Signaling System 7 (SS7), and customer premises equipment.

Service providers ITXC and SingTel have deployed voice services based on Cisco VIA, a voice system that helps carriers deploy IP-based voice transit services over a core IP transport infrastructure. VIA enhancements announced this week are intended to further that effort.

The first such enhancement is integration of Cisco’s PGW 2200 softswitch into existing H.323 architectures, which enables Media Gateway Control Protocol-based call control and support of 90 SS7 variants. The Cisco SIP Proxy Server has been incorporated into VIA, which brings with it support for an array of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based applications, such as Microsoft Network Messenger Voice Service, Cisco says. 

Also, Cisco VIA environments can now be managed by Cisco Internet OSS for VoIP Infrastructure Manager. This allows service providers to turn up services faster, optimize network availability, and measure usage for both efficiency and effective billing and revenue recognition, Cisco claims.

ITXC has been using Cisco equipment that now falls under the VIA umbrella since 1999 as components of an H.323-based wholesale long-distance offering.

“Interoperability for us is important because, being a wholesale provider, we connect to everybody else’s network,” says John Landau, executive vice president of product management at ITXC. “The ease of integration and the reliability of integration with other people’s gateway equipment is important to us. For what we need, which is scalability and distributed operations… it works very well for us.”

Cisco’s MVS architecture, meanwhile, has garnered the support of Equant and Sprint. Both service providers are offering bundled MVS services for their business customers that are seeking to outsource the management of their IP voice, data and video communications.

MVS is Cisco’s moniker for an IP telephony service Sprint turned up in early October. The carrier has pilots for the service underway with 20 customers in campus and remote branch environments with networks ranging from 100 to “a couple thousand” handsets, says Mickey O’Dell, Sprint director of managed services and CPE.

“They’ve got these pipes, and they should be throwing voice over them for free,” O’Dell says, explaining the rationale for the pilots. He says customers can save money over the long term from this service by combining separate voice and data networking staffs into a single IP staff that can oversee both voice and data networking.

O’Dell says the pilots should turn into production, revenue-generating networks in six to nine months from when they commenced two months ago.

MVS is built on Cisco’s multiservice VPN and managed IP telephony product offerings. With multiservice VPN, service providers can offer intersite voice, data and video IP communications over a QoS-enabled network, Cisco says.  Additionally, they can provide closed user group dialing services as well as “off-net” long distance calling through SS7 and ISDN, the company claims. 

The managed IP telephony products provide management oversight for their customers’ Cisco-based IP telephony deployments. From the service provider’s network operations center, they can offer configuration management, performance and capacity oversight, fault monitoring, help desk, and reporting, Cisco says.

BLISS, VIA and MVS are available now. Pricing is dependent on each customer deployment approach.

Managing Editor

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He covers enterprise networking infrastructure, including routers and switches. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy and at

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