Cisco ASR 5500 Accelerates Mobile Packet Core
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Today Cisco announced the the ASR 5500, the first new Cisco platform based on technology that Cisco got with its acquisition of Starent for $2.9 Billion in 2009. Following that acquisition Cisco rebrandedStarent's mobile gateway as the ASR500 in early 2010.
With the new ASR 5500, Cisco is providing a 10x improvement in performance and is targetting the platform to form the backbone of a service providers' elastic mobile packet core for wireless traffic.
Murali Nemani, director of service provider mobility at Cisco explained to InternetNews.comthat the ASR 5000 family of routers is the post office that routes all the mobile traffic through the network.
Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president and general manager in the Mobility Internet Technology Group at Cisco noted that the performance characteristics of the ASR 5500 span multiple areas. Ahuja explained that in the traditional router world, typically the key dimension is throughput. In contrast, when it comes to mobile, the challenges involve scaling to meet the number of user sessions and transactions per second as well as throughput.
"Throughput is driven by Shannon's Lawwhich is Bits per Hertz," Ahuja said. "So you can take all the traffic in a mobile network and aggregate down into smaller chunks, but the bigger thing is the sessions."
Preserving state across sessions and services are particular challenges of mobility that bandwidth alone does not address.
"So what we've done is build both the hardware and software infrastructure to scale," Ahuja said. "What that means is we can take a combination of silicon and memory and blend it together in a combination that is optimized to meet the needs of today and the future."
The ASR 5500 has a bigger NPU (network processing unit) and bigger CPUs put into a modular system that enables customers to scale the chassis and then virtualize the services.