Cisco's layoffs won't affect 5G focus

Cisco's previously announced restructuring – an effort designed to shave $1 billion in costs – isn't expected to affect the company's efforts in 5G.

Cisco announced its latest restructuring in August, and a new report from FierceTelecom indicates that the company appears to have begun laying off workers this week.

"Over the coming weeks and months, Cisco will increase our investments in key business areas that will drive customer satisfaction and partner profitability going forward and reduce investments in others. We will be restructuring parts of our business as a result," a Cisco spokesperson told FierceTelecom without providing specifics on the number of affected employees. "Our employees are our priority and we are committed to providing our full support to those transitioning to new roles or teams within Cisco or leaving the company. Where possible, we will offer employees options that enable them to make decisions that best suit their career goals and personal circumstances."

However, the layoffs aren't intended to affect Cisco's business in 5G, according to a person familiar with the company's business. That business ranges from the sale of 5G core software to edge computing services, and covers customers such as T-Mobile and Verizon.

Indeed, Cisco's CEO in August called out 5G as a focus area for the company, alongside technologies including multi-cloud operations, Wi-Fi 6, 400G and artificial intelligence.

"These investments will help define the next phase of our transformation and allow us to bring the best, most relevant innovation to our customers in simpler, more easily consumables ways," Cisco's Chuck Robbins said during the operator's August quarterly conference call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the event. "I am confident that, once again, we have the right strategy that will deliver what our customers need from us, and we will emerge from this challenging time as a stronger company than before."

Though 5G doesn't appear to factor into the cuts, they are impacting most other areas of Cisco's business, another industry source familiar with the situation said.

Cisco's cable access unit has already been depleted to a degree, with several engineers in that group having already pivoted over to ATX Networks, which recently took over much of Cisco's cable amplifier business. Cisco sold its consumer premises equipment business, which included DOCSIS modems and gateways, to Technicolor back in 2015.

With respect to cable access, Cisco has remained focused on software initiatives focused on network virtualization as well as new nodes and remote PHY devices targeted to new distributed access architectures being pursued by cable operators.

Light Reading's Jeff Baumgartner contributed to this report.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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