What Don’t You Know About Cisco ISR G2 2900/3900 Series Routers?


October 5, 2014

Part of our job as technology consultants is to make sure our customers are aware of all the new bells and whistles that Cisco is offering in each product class.  Since routers are a foundational component of most network architectures, their features, functionality, and capabilities are topics that get broached daily.

Routers are no longer just about terminating an MPLS WAN link or performing the role of a voice gateway, but rather what else they can do and where they fit. The purpose of this blog is to review some of these key topics.

  • Which Cisco ISR G2 Router should a customer choose based on the throughput requirements of the WAN link?
  • Cisco Application Acceleration
  • Cisco UCS-E Series Server Blades and how companies are using them


Which Cisco ISR G2 router should a customer chose based on the throughput requirements of the WAN link?

In meetings with customers, we have found that there is often some confusion about which Cisco ISR G2 Router is needed. Often a customer will ask, “Why can’t I just use the Cisco 2901 Router to terminate my 150Mbps WAN link? After all it has a Gigabit Ethernet interface on it!”  Our response is that, yes, the router has a GB interface on it, but that doesn’t mean it can truly support 150Mbps of true WAN throughput with concurrent services enabled.  These routers are called integrated services routers for a reason. They can perform many functions including:

  • Terminating Unified Communications traffic
  • Perform policy-based routing decisions
  • Perform advanced layer 3 quality of services
  • Act as a secure IOS firewall, and much more


This is why when you are making a purchasing decision for a router – ask yourself what services/functionality you will need to configure on the router and what type of throughput you will need.

Here is handy Cisco ISR G2 Platform Positioning Table showing the recommended platform-based throughput and concurrent enabled services.



Cisco Application Acceleration and Experience

As most of us have noticed, applications certainly aren’t going away. The reality is that we are deploying significantly more applications today than a year ago, and the network has never been more critical to delivering those applications.  Also, the application landscape is changing.  There is a tremendous shift, with more companies consolidating business-critical applications in their Data Center or in the Cloud, which means that a very small amount of the traffic is staying local to the branch and is therefore, having to backhaul over an MPLS for instance.

This trend has presented some challenges to customers such as:

  • Inability to prioritize critical traffic
  • Difficulty resolving issues because they don’t have visibility into the application
  • Reduced user productivity due to poor experience
  • Increase in help desk calls which saturates the IT help desk’s time
  • Higher WAN costs
  • Compromised performance from backhauling traffic back to the Data Center or the Cloud

Cisco’s approach is to have one network with unified services with such capabilities or benefits as:

  • Focus on maximizing the application performance by using application aware QoS and intelligent path selection
  • Ability to monitor and enhance thousands of applications
  • Rapid root cause analysis
  • 50-70% bandwidth reduction



Cisco UCS-E Series Server Blades and how companies are using them

The Cisco UCS E-Series Blade Servers are finding a nice spot in enterprise infrastructures. As companies continue to try to do more with less equipment and reduce complexity, these Cisco UCS-E Series blades are doing just that.  The blades basically are powerful, Small Form Factor (SFF) x86 64-bit blade servers housed within the Cisco ISR G2 Routers. They are ideal for hosting essential infrastructure services and some mission-critical applications at a very nice price point. Most companies are using them to deploy file/print servers, DHCP servers, DNS, and some simple line of business applications.

Features and Benefits:



Server Decisions

When shopping for a server, there are a million factors to keep in mind. Between future compute need projections to cost, a thorough analysis of your options is necessary to make the best decision. Contact Mindsight today to discuss your challenges and the collection of Cisco servers available to you.

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About Mindsight

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