Cisco Announces Network Convergence System

The Internet of Things comes one step closer with Cisco's announcement of the NCS today.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Sep 24, 2013
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The Internet of Things, which Cisco also calls the Internet of Everything (IoE), is the idea that everything on the planet can be connected to the network. It's an idea that will require new scalable technology to meet the demands of billions of devices.That's where Cisco's new Network Convergence System (NCS) comes into play.

Today Cisco officially announced NCS, powered by the networking giant's nPower X1 network processor.

"We need a new dimension of scale," Surya Panditi, SVP and GM, Cisco Service Provider Networking Group, said during a press event launching the new gear. "This can scale beyond a petabit."

At the top end of the new portfolio sits the NCS 6000 family of products, which can ncs 6000provide up to a whopping 1.2 petabits per second of bandwidth. The NCS 6000 is powered by the same IOS-XR operating system inside Cisco's CRS core routing system.

Panditi explained that the NCS 6000 is capable of handling a 1 Terabit per second line card. The 1 Tbps card contains 10 x 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

While the NCS platform shares the same operating system as Cisco's CRS platform, Cisco is positioning the two systems to serve different needs. Earlier this year, Cisco announced the CRS-X, a 12.8 Tbps core routing platform that extends the CRS portfolio. According to Cisco, service providers do not require both the CRS and NCS, but they do work together to enable service providers to monetize their network infrastructures.    

"The NCS creates new capabilities at the physical and virtual infrastructure layer of the network by creating an intelligent fabric that enables the real-time movement of edge, core, optical and data center functions," Cisco spokesperson Jim Brady wrote in an email to Enterprise Networking Planet. "This evolution brings entirely new levels of service agility and programmability to the underlying networking layers, and we call this our Evolved Programmable Network."  

In addition to the NCS 6000, Cisco also announced the NCS 4000 system, a converged optical service platform. As a converged platform, it includes optical transport as well as Carrier Ethernet in one box. The single-chassis solution is the 24 rack unit (RU) NCS 4016, which supports up to 16 service line-card slots.

The NCS 2000 is a Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) system for optical networking transport. A key part of the NCS 2000 is support for Cisco's nLight technology that provides programmability through its ability to extract data between network layers to identify low-latency optimal paths.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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