Cisco on Tuesday rolled out what it calls the foundation for a new generation of mobile Internet networks. Dubbed the ASR 5500 platform, the new technology extends Cisco's ASR 5000 Series to meet mobile demands.
Mobile demands is the key word. Cisco predicts worldwide mobile network traffic will increase 18-fold from 2011 to 2016, with nearly 19 billion mobile Internet connections by 2016. Cisco believes the industry needs an "elastic" solution for mobile networks and sees its ASR 5500 as the answer.
"By 2016, more people will access the Internet from mobile devices than from desktops," said Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Mobile Internet Technology Group. Ahuja said the ASR 5500 will help clients keep up with the surging demand for what she calls the "new normal."
Overbuilt for the Future
The ASR 5500 works to address three Cisco-identified challenges: dramatic growth of mobile lifestyle devices, increased usage of next-generation apps and the rise of machine-to-machine, where machines like smart meters and sensors use the mobile network.
We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on Cisco's latest innovation in the mobile space. He told us the ASR 5500 is a beast of a product that's built for mobile first and is well ahead of the curve.
"The 5500 is overbuilt for where most companies are today. But it does provide a rock solid foundation that service providers can leave in place for quite a while -- and that's become important to service provider buying habits," Kerravala said. "The typical rotation of equipment used to be a three-year time frame. I've talked to a number of service providers that want to stretch that out to five and even seven years in some cases."
Save 47 Percent TCO
The ASR 5500 is an elastic packet core solution that can integrate signaling, data, inline services, and policy and charging control within a single platform. Cisco promise a 10-times performance improvement in throughput, capable of scaling from hundreds of gigabits to a terabit platform.
Cisco claims the ASR 5500 is the only solution that can auto-size existing network resources to address dramatic variations in network behavior, such as access on 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks, as well as user sessions, transactions, signaling, and data throughput.
ACG Research reports that the ASR 5500 gives service providers the ability to adjust resources and adapt to multiple conditions and network usage patterns, resulting in improved network economics, saving customers up to 47 percent of the total cost of ownership.
"Change in the use of mobile networks is challenging network architects to build flexibility and elasticity into the mobile multimedia core in order to control its cost," said Michael Kennedy, principal analyst, ACG Research. "The savings are attributable to the Cisco ASR 5500's scale and integrated functionality that requires up to 65 percent fewer installed units."