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SDN Journal Authors: Don MacVittie, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Dinko Eror, Pat Romanski

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Cisco Opens Up the "Last Mile" for Service Providers to Increase Profits With Virtualization and Programmable Capabilities

Cisco Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) Extends to Service Provider Access Networks, Helps Reduce Network Operation Costs by up to 56 Percent

SAN JOSE, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/08/14 -- To support service providers as they introduce new applications and services such as cloud-based managed business services, advanced bandwidth-on-demand and consumer mobile broadband, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) today introduced the Cisco® Elastic Access portfolio of software and hardware products. These new solutions can enable increased agility and profitability, helping service providers reduce network deployment costs by up to 56 percent and maintenance costs by up to 21 percent. Service providers can do this by using virtualization, programmability, economical scale and architectural convergence in the access segment of the network.

The new software-defined networking (SDN)-enabled Cisco Elastic Access portfolio is a key element of the Cisco Evolved Programmable Network (EPN), the infrastructure layer consisting of physical and virtual devices working together to form an end-to-end unified fabric for a programmable network. This helps enable service providers to create new revenue models, simplify operations and deliver new revenue-generating services. The Cisco EPN and Cisco's industry-leading virtualization and orchestration software platform -- the Cisco Evolved Services Platform (ESP) -- are key architectural elements for the Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE) for service providers.

With the proliferation of people, devices, machines and sensors coming online across the Internet of Everything (IoE), which is expected to be a $19 trillion economic opportunity in the coming decade, service providers require these new virtualization and programmable extensibility capabilities to lead the delivery of value-added, cloud-based services and applications.

Several leading global service providers are deploying elements of the Cisco Elastic Access portfolio to simplify their networks and increase service agility.

"With this announcement, Cisco is leading the way to deliver the benefits of virtualization, management and software-defined networking-based advances to the last mile," said Liz Centoni, Cisco vice president and general manager of the service provider access group. "These new Cisco Elastic Access products demonstrate our commitment to delivering the most comprehensive and programmatic approach to software-defined networking and network function virtualization in the telecommunications and networking industries. With our elastic core, edge and access products, the Cisco Evolved Programmable Network is the most programmable, end-to-end solution on the market."

With new levels of service agility, including "bandwidth on the fly" and Cisco ESP orchestration, the new Cisco Elastic Access portfolio includes:

  • New platforms for addressing service provider carrier Ethernet and mobile backhaul solutions
    • Cisco ME 4600 Series Multiservice Optical Access Platform: This platform easily scales aggregation services and enables operators to offer both end-user and wholesale services using Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology.
    • Cisco ASR 902 and ASR 920: The new Cisco ASR 900 Series converged time-division multiplexing (TDM) and Ethernet aggregation platforms 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 ME 1200 Ethernet Access Device: This fully featured service delivery demarcation device is ready for Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) 2.0 services for today's mobile and cloud applications.
  • Virtualized Elastic Access management
    • Virtualized management-based controllers on the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) allow cloud-based management to scale to thousands of access devices.
  • Autonomic access operations, providing unconstrained management of any remote end point
    • Zero-touch network virtualization (nV) provisioning extends to the furthest endpoints with highly secure auto discovery and autoconfiguration.
    • Simplified operation of access nodes reducing manual touch points and errors and cutting provisioning steps by up to 56 percent.
    • Automatic provisioning and management for "bandwidth-on-the-fly" extensibility extend from the core to the most remote access point and back.

As a part of Cisco EPN, the Cisco Elastic Access products work in conjunction with the Cisco ESP to bring autonomic access operations and unconstrained management of any remote end point and extends zero-touch nV provisioning to the furthest end points. For these reasons, access node operation is simplified, eliminating multiple setups and pre-staging while reducing manual touch points and errors.

Additionally, highly secure auto discovery, auto-configuration, uninterrupted management and configuration repair of network elements is enabled. Automatic provisioning and management for "bandwidth-on-the-fly" extensibility from the core to the most remote access point and back is possible. As a result of Cisco Elastic Access solutions working in conjunction with the Cisco ESP, orchestration, automation and simplification are extended to the last mile, creating the opportunity to reduce provisioning steps by more than 56 percent.

The Cisco Elastic Access portfolio expands and responds to service provider needs to enable higher bandwidth and cost-effective, fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) scenarios that are easy to deploy and manage.

Supporting Quotes
Erik Keith, principal analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure, Current Analysis
"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 Fiber-to-the-Home technology. Cisco jumping into Gigabit Passive Optical Network is clearly a sign that GPON technology is a top priority interest to service providers."

Santiago Carrero, head of engineering, Gas Natural Fenosa Telecom
"We're very excited about the Cisco ASR 903 and are pleased to see Cisco continuing to invest in this product line."

Stephen Hon, co-president, Hawaii Dialogix Telecom
"The Cisco network has significantly lessened service delivery time, reducing by nearly two-thirds the number of provisioning procedures associated with configuring and turning up services. This capability, in turn, is allowing Hawaii Dialogix Telecom to deliver a range of new products. In conjunction with this Cisco deployment, we've put a lot of time and effort into building a fixed wireless backhaul network around Oahu and the greater Honolulu area. The combination of fixed wireless and the Cisco ASR networking equipment is allowing us to provide products that are an order of magnitude better at little to no increase in network operating costs."

Supporting Resources

Tags/keywords: Cisco, Cisco Elastic Access, Elastic Access, Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE), Cisco Evolved Programmable Network (EPN), Access, Cisco Evolved Services Platform (ESP), network virtualization, nV, software-defined networking, SDN

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