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Cisco Routers Get a 3G Boost

Cisco made a surprising move today by announcing 3G WAN support for its ISR line. While the technology has been found in broadband gateways such as Junxion, D-Link and many others, the wireless carriers have either explicitly restricted use of such broadband sharing or disconnected service to those that have exceeded their nontransparent usage caps. Wireless service for small or remote branch offices makes perfect sense. All too often, a customer's secondary wireline backup method fails, either due to a cable cut in the same area or an untested solution.
Cisco must have done its homework, as all three major wireless carriers are on board. Cingular Wireless (or 'the new AT&T') has introduced its Wireless WAN Connectivity Service and positioned it as primarily a backup solution. Verizon Wireless now offers a BroadbandAccess Router Service that seems to accept more permanent installations. Sprint is much the same with its Data Link for Wireless WAN, but it is also bundling field installation, managed services, break-fix support and the Sprint Data Link service that provides secure EV-DO connectivity to the customer's WAN network (i.e., IP/MPLS). Pricing for these services hasn't been made available, but it's likely to be more than the $60 per month rate charged today. Apparently the wireless carriers found a way to provide higher-volume cellular data services that don't negatively affect their services--if the right price tag is attached. Perhaps those who want a true 'all-you-can-eat' 3G package can purchase these data plans.

Frank Bulk
NWC Contributing Editor

Cisco introduced a High-Speed WAN Interface Card (HWIC) this week that adds 3G capabilities to its integrated services routers to enable small enterprises to flip over to wireless backup when their wired network goes down.

With the WAN high-speed 3G wireless card, the Cisco integrated services routers (ISR) will connect to the Internet via carrier EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) or HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) networks.

AT&T, Sprint, Telefonica Moviles Espana and Verizon Wireless have already tested the new HWIC card with their 3G networks.

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