VZW Ethernet backhaul built by Cisco

Verizon Wireless is using Cisco’s ASR 9000 edge routers to fulfill its recently announced plans to use carrier Ethernet to boost the capacity of its wireless backhaul networks to accommodate 3G and 4G bandwidth needs.

Cisco isn’t the only vendor Verizon is using for this upgrade, but the carrier won’t identify its other source. (Feel free to make the case for your own guess in the comments section below.)

The ASR 9000, which just became available in this year’s first quarter, is only a carrier Ethernet product if its user chooses to deploy it as such. The edge gear supports either Layer 2 or Layer 3 functions within the same line card, giving carriers the flexibility to establish their own preferred balance of the two technologies.

It also shares the same operating system as Cisco’s giant CRS-1 core router and a distributed control plane architecture that pushes resources from the core to the edge, so it makes sense that VZW, which late last year became the CRS-1’s biggest customer, would follow with the 9000s.

A Verizon spokesperson declined to offer much detail into their deployment of the ASRs. “We use the ASR 9000 for aggregating our cell site routers,” he told Telephony today. “It serves the function of an MLS (multi-layer switch) and a router.”

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