Cisco Systems expanded its carrier Ethernet offerings with a purpose-built switch and a multiservice provisioning platform, both designed to help carriers deploy new types of services to consumers and businesses.
Cisco aims to help carriers build the next generation of their networks using Ethernet, which plays on the California company's traditional strength as a provider of Ethernet gear in enterprises. Cisco has been a backer of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), which was formed in 2001 to drive deployment of Ethernet services by carriers and develop standards. The vendor now has 12 products that have earned the organization's MEF9 certification, which Cisco claims is the most of any vendor.
Ethernet generally costs less than traditional carrier network technologies, and Ethernet-based services can give enterprises both a familiar interface to work with and a better selection of services, proponents say.
On Tuesday, the company introduced the Cisco ME 6500 Series of Ethernet switches, which are based on the Cisco 6500 Series switch platform but are built specifically for carrier use. They can be used in both the access layer, closest to end customers, and the aggregation layer where connections from access devices come together, the company said. The ME 6500 switches are optimized for both triple-play (voice, video and data) services for consumers and VPN (virtual private network) offerings for businesses, Cisco said.
Cisco also introduced the ONS 15310-MA access platform, a multiservice device designed to help carriers migrate to Ethernet services. It lets them keep offering traditional TDM (time-division multiplexing) services such as T-1 and T-3 leased lines while also rolling out new triple-play services via Ethernet, according to the company.
The ME 6500 Series switches are available now, starting at US$24,000. The ONS 15310-MA is also available now, with a list price of US$18,000 for a model with a basic configuration.