April 20, 2011
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has found a roomy cable home for the ASR 9000 router after notching a sizable deployment deal with Bright House Networks , the sixth-largest incumbent MSO in the US.
As part of a larger network and service convergence strategy that's about two years in the making, Bright House is using the Cisco creation to take all of its residential and commercial services and "integrate them between the core and edge of our platform," says Craig Cowden, Bright House's SVP of network engineering and operations. "We need to do that to have a long-run, converged architecture," he adds.
Bright House has reached the final stages of a deployment that will place two ASR 9000s at each edge hub and combine the MSO's access network. When the job's done (late this month or in early May), Bright House will be aggregating quite a load since it's already deployed Docsis 3.0 across the board and is feeding its dedicated Metro Ethernet commercial services with EPON. On the video end, it's also using switched digital video (SDV) and has introduced advanced video apps such as "Start Over" and "Look Back."
Bright House is replacing Cisco 6500 and 7600 routers with the ASR 9000 in half of its 110 hubs. It completed the migration with another supplier in the other hubs last year. Bright House declined to name the other since there are questions as to whether the other supplier will remain one of the MSO's long-term partners. [Ed. note: We're looking into that.]
Why this matters
Cable MSOs have typically operated in complex service silos, but several of them are starting to collapse them, and Bright House is well in front of the trend.
Bright House's move to the ASR 9000 comes as other operators start think about migrating to IP video and leveraging next-generation access networks. On the latter, two primary initiatives have surfaced: the Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)-led Converged Multiservice Access Platform (CMAP) and the Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)-led Converged Edge Services Access Router (CESAR).
Bright House typically aligns itself with TW Cable, but hasn't decided on an approach. However, Cowden believes Cisco's new router will help future-proof those decisions no matter how those projects evolve, or perhaps converge, sometime later.
For Cisco, Bright House is the biggest North American cable operator to buy the ASR 9000 in bulk. EastLink, a Tier 2 Canadian MSO, has also deployed it, as have companies such as Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), NTT America Inc. , SoftBank BB Corp. , Tata Communications Ltd. , Telx Group Inc. and Verizon Wireless .
For more about cable's access network convergence plans and Cisco's latest-gen edge router, check out:
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