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Managing Editor

Cisco adds IP multiservice products

Dec 09, 20025 mins
Cisco SystemsSystem Management

New, enhanced wares and architectures intended to convince carriers to open pocketbooks.

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

Cisco also announced a handful of carrier deployments of its offerings as proof of its initiative. The new products include:

  • A line card for the Cisco ONS 15454 optical transport system that supports 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 metropolitan Ethernet.

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

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

The cards are dealt

Features of Cisco’s ML-series Ethernet cards for the ONS 15454.

Enable private-line services and Layer 2/3 packet multiplexing into SONET/SDH.
Allow creation of multipoint services.

Establishes quality-

of-service interoper-ability with enterprise networks via IOS software IP feature set.
Supports common management with Cisco Transport Manager, SNMP and TL1.

Analysts say the ML-series should reduce costs for customers.

“Now I put a card in instead of a router,” says Deb Mielke, principal of Treillage Network Strategies. “This is the right thing even though in carriers, [transport and router staff] have always been separate operational groups. That’s the biggest stumbling block for this: politics.”

The ML-series is expected to ship in the first quarter of next year.

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

The enhancements to the uBR7000 are a new processor for the system, the MPQ1, which Cisco says features a threefold increase in performance and support for more users than its predecessor; and interchassis N+1 failover for high availability.

The new CMTS products will be certified as compliant with the PacketCable specifications early next year, Cisco says.

For IP telephony, Cisco last week announced that several service providers in North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe are delivering IP-based voice, data and video services to 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).

Cisco BLISS addresses IP-based multiservice provisioning over Metro Ethernet, cable and T-1/E-1 infrastructures. BLISS for Metro Ethernet was announced last week.

Components of BLISS Metro Ethernet include the access infrastructure, call-control servers, public switched telephone network interconnect through Signaling System 7 (SS7), and customer premises equipment (CPE).

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 last week are intended to further that effort.

The first such enhancement is integration of Cisco’s PGW 2200 softswitch into existing H.323 networks, which facilitates Media Gateway Control Protocol-based call control and support 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-based applications, Cisco says.

ITXC has used 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 are 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 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 October. The carrier has pilots for the service under way with 20 customers in campus and 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 voice and data.

O’Dell says the pilots should turn into production, revenue-generating networks within seven months.

BLISS, VIA and MVS are available now.

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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