Cisco bolsters Carrier Ethernet portfolio

Cisco Monday announced carrier equipment designed to ease deployment of Ethernet-based business and consumer services.

The enhancements include implementation of standards-based Carrier Ethernet operations, administration and management capabilities across Cisco's 7600 Series routers, Metro Ethernet (ME) 3400 Series Ethernet Access switches, 3750 Metro Series switches and Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR). The new capabilities enable service providers using Cisco infrastructure to manage Ethernet services from the core to the customer premises, Cisco says.

The capabilities include IEEE 802.1ag for service verification, IEEE 802.3ah for link layer troubleshooting and Ethernet link management interface for auto provisioning of customer premises equipment.

Cisco also announced availability of two new form factors for the Cisco ME 3400 Ethernet Access switches. These switches support Ethernet connectivity to business-oriented multitenant units and single-tenant units as well as residential-oriented multi-dwelling units.

The 12CS features 12 10/100/1000Mbps combination and small form-factor pluggable (SFP) ports, and four SFP ports. The 2CS features two 10/100/1000Mbps combination and SFP ports and two additional SFP ports.

Pricing starts at US$6,995 for the 12CS and $1,695 for the 2CS.

Cisco Monday also announced its ME 4924 Gigabit Ethernet Switch, a single rack unit, 10Gbps-enabled access aggregation device for Ethernet fiber-to-the-home applications. Cisco is promoting Ethernet fiber-to-the-home as an access alternative to passive optical networks (PON), which are the access architectures of choice for voice, data, video and mobility services by AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth and other incumbent carriers.

Analysts say Cisco's Ethernet fiber-to-the-home strategy and product line -- which includes the 7600 routers, ME 3400 switches, and Cisco Catalyst 4500 switches and Scientific Atlanta 90600 optical network terminator -- are targeted more at smaller Tier 2 and 3 municipal service providers.

"It's a viable strategy for specific service provider segments," says Mark Bieberich of the Yankee Group. "The largest carriers in North America have opted for PON...but smaller carriers are migrating to active Ethernet solutions."

The Cisco ME 4924 Gigabit Ethernet Access Switch starts at US$43,500.

Cisco also announced general availability of new network management tools for the ISRs to simplify the provisioning of managed customer premises equipment and managed security services such as network address translation/firewall and IPSec VPNs.

The Cisco Managed Services Solution consists of network management software that provisions, configures and monitors the ISR and security services; and additional features that support the planning, deployment and optimization of managed services. The Cisco MSS starts at US$20,000 for the MSS media kit and US$62,500 for MSS analysis services.

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