Cisco’s many MWC announcements include a system to unify WiFi, LTE, CBRS, 5G called Unified Domain Center

We review the new announcements Cisco made public for the now-cancelled MWC20 show, and they are:  BNG on unified control plane, Unified Domain Center-to-DNA Center interoperation, IoT Control Center, SP Services Edge (CDN), new Open RAN partners, NCS 540 router with CPRI support, and Crosswork automation platform.  Since MWC is a show primarily focused on mobile and wireless, we think the two announcements that are most “wireless” in nature were: (a) Unified Domain Center announcement, which will unify management of WiFi to cellular operator LTE is interesting and (b) the partnerships Cisco announced with Open RAN vendors like Parallel Wireless, NEC and World Wide Technology.

Summary of announcements by Cisco:
Core Networks 

  • Core first in the 5G era.  Cisco believes SPs should focus on new services creation, and that process begins with selection of the core of the network.  So, its view is that the decision on how to architect a 5G networks begins with the core; in contrast, in the 3G era, selection of radio was first.
  • CUPS / Packet Core.  The company now offers a single control-plane system that includes EPC, CCAP and BNG (BNG integration is a new announcement).  The user-plane can be delivered over three different systems:  Cisco VPP (servers) and/or Physical ASR 9000 and/or Physical NCS 5700.  These will then connect to various access systems: 3G, 4G, 5G (private and/or public), home, business.
  • The company shared maximum throughputs of each of the user plane systems: VPP throughput 400 GB, ASR 9000-series 4 Tb, and NCS 5700 2.4 Tb.
  • Cisco 5G Core engagements cover 1.3B mobile connections: VZ, Orange, kt, Spring, Rakuten, KDDI, Telenor, T-Mobile, Spark, Gogo, 5G RuralFirst, Working Group Two.  This list of engagements excludes 4G announcements.  Engagement: have deployed NSA or trialing NSA or SA.
  • Dynamic microservices and cloud-native.
  • Its 5G Core (Ultra Cloud Core) does forwarding 50% faster, services proxy 20% faster during congestion and 40% cell site capacity, and does traffic optimization that reduces congestion 30% to save on RAN expansion.

Unified Domain Center

  • (new) Unified Domain Center.  SPs can expose their SP network to enterprise, as a managed service.  DNA Center manages WiFi – will see the SP slice.  We are in proof of concepts with a few SPs in the world
  • The company has no public announcements to share yet
  • This system works in conjunction with Cisco’s cloud-native packet core.
  • Cisco has confidence in the deman for Unified Domain Center; in fact, according to a Cisco-led survey, 94% of customers want unified management of WiFi, CBRS/Private-LTE, FWA, etc.

IOT Control Center

  • (new) IoT Control Center was announced.  This is based on technology Cisco got from the acquisition of services company, Jasper.  We did not get a lot of detail on what is new here, but is clear that Cisco is aggressively pursuing the IoT opportunity.

SP Services Edge 

  • Delivering a CDN system (hardware, services, software) that can be provided to edge sites to allow distribution of things like Disney-Plus.
  • The business model, as we understand it – is Cisco pays for the equipment/software and gets paid based on usage.

Converged SDN Transport “New Engines”

  • In Dec 2019, Cisco made an announcement around “Silicon One.”  Spokepersons today summarized this announcement for MWC as “New cards for existing routers, plus new routers, improving throughput.”
  • NCS 540, 10/25/100 GE, 4.5x* vs ASR 900 – 300 Gb system
  • ASR 9000 line card generation: 4 Tb/slot
  • NCS 5700, 9.6 Tb/slot
  • Cisco 8000, 14.4/Slot

Open RAN

  • RAN has an advantage of 30-50% capex reduction.
  • Partners planned for the MWC show:  Parallel Wireless, NEC, World Wide Technology partnership announced.
  • Cisco has momentum: Rakuten, Telenor, Etisalat, etc.

NCS 540

  • (new) NCS 540.  Converged Fronthaul router.  Move towards IP implementation, reduces operations costs.
  • Indoor and outdoor, plus aggregation site router (includes CPRI support).

Automated Network Operations

  • (new) Cisco Crosswork Automation Portfolio
  • Previously, had individual applications like Network Service Orchestrator (NSO), Situation Manager, etc.
  • In the future, these applications can be delivered in an integrated platform called “Crosswork”
  • Single pane of glass: segment routing provisioned end to end to cell site to DC
  • ACI routing capabilities are also being introduced that are SP-specific

Trusted path routing

  • Routes around altered routing software images
  • Security function