Cisco Branch Router Buyer's Guide - Page 2

Enhanced security, VoIP and video optimization and other features have made the branch router anything but a generic purchase these days. Here's a look at Cisco's proudest products.

 By Drew Robb
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Lasser-Raab calls attention, in particular, to the Integrated Services Router Generation 2 (ISR G2), which she said "delivers a new borderless workspace experience through service virtualization, video-ready capabilities, and operational excellence."

ISR G2s are part of the Cisco Borderless Network Architecture that is described as enabling business innovation and growth across remote sites. "This architecture delivers a new workspace experience by meeting the performance requirements for the next generation of WAN and network services, enabling the cost-effective delivery of high-definition collaboration at the branch office and providing the secure transition to the cloud and virtualized network services," said Lasser-Raab. "Designed for service delivery on a single platform, ISR G2 routers help businesses deploy services on demand or using a pay-as-you-grow model as needs dictate."

On the security front, the routers provide integrated virtual private network (VPN), firewall, inline intrusion prevention services (IPS), content filtering and cloud-based Web security services. Application and WAN optimization is included via software (plus some hardware acceleration). Monitoring and performance-based routing capabilities are built in.

For access flexibility, wired and wireless services including integrated WLAN (802.11n) and either 3G or 4G wireless can be accommodated. In keeping with the video-aware theme, Cisco has added embedded media capabilities to provide video optimization, troubleshooting visibility and control, as well as integrated video/voice applications. Further, ISR G2 routers can host any application for localized server capabilities and backup.

"The ISR G2 provides the widest set of integrated services in the industry: security, collaboration applications, Wireless LAN and WAN, WAN/Application optimization, video awareness, backup and reliability, local application hosting and more," boasted Lasser-Raab. "They come with integrated management for wired and wireless including video and policy."

List prices for this router series start at $1,195.

Here are a few examples of ISR models:

The 3900 Series Integrated Services Router provides interactive media services, TelePresence, a field-upgradeable motherboard and 350Mbps circuit-speed WAN performance in a 3 RU modular form factor. It is aimed at high-end deployments requiring business continuity and collaboration.

The 2900 Series Integrated Services Router is also good for interactive media services as well as virtualization. It comes in a 1 or 2 RU form factor and provides WAN performance up to 75Mbps. It is more of a mid-range product.

The 1900 Series Integrated Services Router is an entry-level version which offers security along with performance of up to 25Mbps in a desktop form factor. Small offices would tend to use this one.

This article was originally published on Jun 23, 2011
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