Cisco Rolls out New Switches and Routers for Borderless Networks

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) today is expanding its core fixed switching lineup and its second-generation Integrated Services Router (ISR G2) with new platforms and capabilities.

The new product rollout is part of Cisco’s broader Borderless Networking initiative, which aims to deliver secured networking capabilities across organizations. With the new Catalyst and ISR G2 platforms, Cisco is now also expanding the platforms on which its TrustSec security, Medianet media delivery and EnergyWise power management technologies are available.

“What Cisco is really trying to deliver is what we call a borderless experience,” Marie Hattar, vice president of network systems and security solutions at Cisco, told “What we mean by that is that we deliver services securely, reliably and seamlessly.”

Hattar added that with the proliferation of connectivity on both fixed and mobile devices, it has become increasingly difficult for enterprises to securely deliver services.

Among the new solutions being rolled out by Cisco today is a faster ISR G2 router with the G2 3900 E-Series. Cisco launched the ISR G2 platform in October as a refresh for Cisco’s widely deployed ISR platform, which debuted back in 2004.

“What’s exciting about the 3900E is that it delivers eight times the performance of the previous generation of ISRs, and it delivers three times the performance of what we were delivering with the ISR G2 in the October announcement,” Hattar said.

The 3900E can deliver up to 350 Mbps of WAN performance, which Hattar noted is enabled by way of additional ASICs that are more powerful than what Cisco had been providing in the initial ISR G2 platforms.

On the fixed switching side, Cisco announced new Catalyst 3750-X and 3560-X 10 GbE (10-gigabit Ethernet) switches. One of the added capabilities Cisco is debuting on the new Catalysts is something called StackPower, which enables a switch to leverage the power supply of another switch as needed for reliability and disaster recovery.

As part of the new Catalyst borderless networking rollout, Cisco is also expanding the footprint of its TrustSec initiative. TrustSec is an effort to create secured, identity-aware networking that can identify a user and grant access based on policy.

With the Catalyst 3750-X and 3560-X, Cisco is expanding TrustSec to campus switches and including new capabilities to ensure security.

“With TrustSec, we’re now supporting MACsec, which is 802.1ae link-layer encryption between any end point and where it hits the switch,” Hattar said.

She added that MACsec helps to ensure that no one can hack into the network before the first hop to the switch.

In additional to security enhancements for its switching portfolio, Cisco is now also moving into the next phase of its EnergyWise energy management effort. Cisco kicked off EnergyWise in January 2009 with a roadmap to help enable networking gear to manage power usage and consumption.

“In terms of what’s new, we’re introducing the EnergyWise Orchestrator, which really gives you the capability to manage IT devices like your PC and your laptop, and we’re delivering an open API so third parties can leverage EnergyWise as well,” Hattar said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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