Cisco adds broadband aggregation to edge routers

Cisco Systems has added broadband aggregation capabilities to its edge routers.

Service providers can now use Cisco's 7200, 7400 and 10000 series Internet routers for both leased-line and broadband aggregation. Applications that can now be supported on the platforms include Dynamic Bandwidth Selection, which allows end users to increase throughput on demand for high-bandwidth applications, like video on demand.

Another is Service Selection Gateway, which enables carriers to provide customized and branded portals for end users for promoting access to services, such as movies or games. Cisco is also providing Per User Network-based Firewall capabilities, which gives end users the ability to select different levels of firewall protection for individual family members or employees.

The end user can now create sub-accounts for family members, subscribe to age-appropriate services, provide allowance for gaming services and set policies on hours of use and time of day, Cisco says.

The enhancements will enable Cisco to better compete against the union of Juniper and Unisphere, which as separate companies collectively stole 30 percent of the edge router market from Cisco over the past two years, according to market research firm Current Analysis.

Now that Juniper is acquiring Unisphere, Cisco needs to better assert itself in the market. But gaining back that 30 percent share is not a given, the research firm states.

"This market is where Cisco has lost the most market share, and with Juniper's acquisition of Unisphere, Cisco may suffer further market share losses," Current Analysis states. "Cisco must also contend with a revitalized Redback (now allied with Nokia) and savvy start-ups such as Laurel and Allegro."

The broadband aggregation additions also do not address the density shortcomings of the 7x00 series, Current Analysis says in a recent report. Cisco's 7x00 series edge routers offer the lowest T-1/E-1 density and scalability on the market, a factor that is easily exploited by rival vendors in this space, the firm states.

The 10000 series, meanwhile, has been an enigma in this market. Cisco claims to have over 100 customers for the 10000, but the only announced wins are KPN and Qwest.

Competitors, meanwhile, say the 10000 never shows up in bids and isn't considered a competitive offering by carriers.

Cisco begs to differ.

"We've not lost opportunities to Unisphere or Juniper," says Enzo Signore, senior director of marketing for the Subscriber Edge Group at Cisco. "We have to match the 7500 (series router) benchmark. The 10000 is the closest match."

Cisco's 7500 series router is perhaps the most widely deployed router in the industry in both enterprise and service provider accounts.

Still, the lack of information around the 10000 leaves Cisco vulnerable, Current Analysis states.

"Cisco has been very quiet about the market success of the 10000," its report says. "Only two (accounts) have been publicly announced, giving rivals latitude to downplay the significance of the deployments in the remaining accounts due to the lack of public information sources."

The new broadband aggregation features on the 7200, 7400 and 10000 series routers are currently available.

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