ACG Research

ACG Research
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Take: Cisco ASR 5500 Mobile Core Solution

The Starent acquisition continues to pay strong dividends for Cisco, not just in terms of revenue but now in setting a new architecture direction with the ASR 5500. While the rest of the industry is using routers, Cisco just unveiled a new purpose-built platform supporting data, signaling and services in one system. This is a huge step forward.

Conventional wisdom says that signaling planes and data planes have to be handled separately by separate systems. Cisco just turned that thinking on its head with the ASR 5500.  A business case analysis by ACG Research shows the ASR 5500 solution has 47% lower five-year cumulative TCO than the competitor’s solution; CapEx is 51% and OpEx is 32%.

The key benefits of the ASR 5500 is in its elastic architecture and the ability to shift key processing capabilities on demand to meet mobile operators' shifting needs. The benefits are extended to smaller operators that are trying to simplify their infrastructures and will like the combined architecture. Tier 1 mobile operators will also appreciate the benefits as they constantly deal with huge demands on signaling and data and need the capacity the 5500 delivers.  

The hidden gem in the ASR 5500 may be the ability to turn on services, such as DPI, without taking the huge 40 to 60 percent performance hit router-based systems experience. DPI is a "quiet killer" of performance in mobile networks.

With the ASR 5500 solution, Cisco is leveraging Starent's knowledge of advanced processors and a sophisticated software architecture to create a highly capable mobile architecture that competitors will find hard to match. As operators focus on cost control to lower the barriers to profitability of its mobile networks, the ability of the Cisco ASR 5500 solution to combine functions and scale in a single system brings elasticity and flexibility to support unpredictable loads compared to separate architectures.

The Internet of Things represents a focus area for operators to monetize their networks. It has its own challenges such as signaling more than data loads and scaling with upward of two times more devices than subscribers to support. The ASR5500 provides that scale.

To watch the HotSeat video of Chris Nicoll and Tony Schoener discussing how the mobile network requires a new approach to handling signaling and data loads and the how the Cisco ASR 5500 uniquely solves the problems of 4G networks click here.

Chris Nicoll 

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