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Cisco Without Borders

Cisco has introduced a new network architecture: the  Borderless Network architecture, along with a five-phase plan designed to help deliver services and applications to anyone, anywhere, on any device, at anytime. As the first proof point of its Borderless Networks architecture, Cisco announced the second generation of its Integrated Services Router, the ISR G2.

The ISR G2 is designed around several key points identified as critical for future network deployment. The points include business video (which Cisco research says will increase to 77.6 percent of network traffic by 2012), service virtualization (as part of the broader network virtualization movement), operational savings and a borderless network experience, defined as a network in which locations, devices and applications are all delivered without regard to a user's or client's physical location.

According to Sashi Kiran, product manager for Cisco, the number of enterprise branches is anticipated to grow by 17% over the next two years, so branch-office capabilities are important directions for products. Branch and remote offices are critical to Cisco's Borderless Network Architecture, as the company hears from their customers that they need to see corporate services delivered to employees regardless of where the employee is sitting. Kiran says that the general networking capabilities will be several notches higher than the previous generation, and that Cisco is trying to get away from basic "feeds and speeds" comparisons, preferring to talk about the nature of the services delivered by the new-generation routers.

Kiran says, "The emphasis is on delivering richer collaboration and video experiences, with lots of emphasis on video and [quality of service] issues." As an example, he says that the new routers are video-ready, featuring Medianet -- hardware and software to support video conferencing. He also points to video surveillance and Webex (Cisco's web-based remote meeting and collaboration service) as explicit targets for the services delivered through the ISR G2.

In order to deliver on the services, Kiran says that the ISR G2 moves from 160 GB local video storage to 1TB storage per module and is built around improved CPU performance, so multiple protocols can run with desired quality simultaneously.

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