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Cisco sprinkles more SDN goodness into the access network

Virtualising the last mile

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Cisco is pushing its “Evolved Programmable Network” architecture further into the access network, with a slew of product releases designed to make the access network more “cloudy”.

First, let's get through the list of serial numbers. The new products cover optical access, Ethernet access, TDM access, management and virtualisation.

Optical access is provided by the ME 4600 GPON platform, which runs 120 Gbps of switching capacity per slot, an aggregate of 8.6 Tbps capacity, and can be fitted with up to 256 GPON ports or 768 gigabit Ethernet ports.

The two platforms in the ASR 900 Series are TDM (902) and Ethernet (920) aggregation modules for broadband networks. There's also an MEF 2.0-ready OAM (operations, administration and management) unit, the ME 1200, with zero-touch SDN controller provisioning.

There's the hardware: but The Borg's big pitch is in virtualisation and SDN. As the company's marketing manager for service provider routing and switching, Greg Smith blogs, the aim is to bring “elasticity to access networks”.

The “zero touch” network virtualisation (nV) provisioning is based on discovery, auto-configuration, management and “configuration repair” of remote access nodes. It also reaches back upwards into the core network, meaning bandwidth allocations should flow from one to the other: if a new customer is connected to the access network, the upstream capacity would be allocated automatically.

As Smith puts it, “Cisco Autonomic Access to the last mile leads to reducing provisioning steps by more than half than present mode of operations.” ®

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