Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) has unveiled a new access network product initiative called Cisco Elastic Access that includes four new hardware platforms – including one that supports GPON – as well as software-defined network (SDN) friendly software platforms.
The new hardware will address service provider Carrier Ethernet and mobile backhaul applications, Cisco says. They include:
- The Cisco ME 4600 Series Multiservice Optical Access Platform that offers scalable service aggregation and support of end-user and wholesale services via GPON.
- The Cisco ASR 902 and ASR 920, additions to the new Cisco ASR 900 Series. The new systems are converged TDM and Ethernet aggregation platforms designed to offer reduced footprint, cost, and feature compatibility with the ASR 903. They support autonomic networking for IP devices and complement the ASR 901 cell site router, Cisco says.
- The Cisco ME 1200 Ethernet Access Device performs Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) 2.0 service delivery demarcation.
The Elastic Access software capabilities fall under the umbrella of the Cisco Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) initiative and leverage the capabilities of the Cisco Evolved Services Platform (ESP) for automated service orchestration. Cisco says the software functionality enables:
- Virtualized management via virtualized management-based controllers on the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS).
- "Zero-touch" network virtualization provisioning that supports secure auto-discovery and auto-configuration.
- Simplified access node operation that reduces provisioning steps by up to 56%.
- Automatic provisioning and management for "bandwidth-on-the-fly."
- What Cisco calls "autonomic access operations," which it asserts enables "unconstrained management of any remote end point."
The combination of hardware and software can reduce network deployment costs by up to 56% and maintenance costs by up to 21%, Cisco asserts. The company adds that "several leading global service providers" have already deployed elements of the Elastic Access portfolio.
While Cisco’s portrayal of the Elastic Access line would seem to indicate a focus more targeted toward business services provision than residential fiber to the home (FTTH) use, at least one analyst believes the new gear will have an impact in the latter realm.
"Cisco's Gigabit Passive Optical Network market entry dramatically changes the fiber-to-the-home competitive landscape, because for the better part of the last decade Cisco has been the leading proponent of active/point-to-point Ethernet fber-to-the-home technology," says Erik Keith, principal analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure, at Current Analysis. "Cisco jumping into Gigabit Passive Optical Network is clearly a sign that GPON technology is a top priority interest to service providers."
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