With the ISR 900 Series, Cisco continues a 26 year pedigree.
1993 was a much simpler time. A gallon of gas cost $1.16. The Space Shuttle was still flying. Beanie Babies were launched. Intel introduced the Pentium processor to power Windows 3.1. Jurassic Park and Mrs. Doubtfire were leading the box office while Snoop Dogg and Rage Against the Machine had breakout hits. Is this making anyone else feel nostalgic or just old?
1993 was also the year that Cisco introduced something that would forever change the landscape of networking in remote offices – the Cisco 2500 Series. For the first time there was a compact affordable Enterprise router with a huge spectrum of available interfaces and features to hammer just about any networking nail. The 2500 was so reliable that they can still be found in offices and data centers around the world more than a quarter century after being introduced. (I confess that I still use several 2511-RJ as terminal servers.)
Capability with Simplicity
So, what made the Cisco 2500 so great and how does that relate to a router being introduced in 2019? The answer is simple – literally. Simplicity with capability in the form of features and interfaces. The 2500 was never the fastest router in the market, but the flexibility and reliability made it a trusted friend for IT staff. With literally thousands of features and any interface type you were likely, or even unlikely, to run into, the 2500 could do it all.
That initial success led to the Cisco 2600 and 3600 Series which would morph into the first generation of Integrated Services Routers followed by the ISR G2 and 800 Series routers all running the same Cisco IOS® operating system. That’s a direct unbroken line of platforms running the same operating system since the earliest Cisco Routers, while adding new features and hardening the whole time. There just isn’t another piece of software with that pedigree anywhere.
Modern Hardware for a New Take on a Classic
The ISR 900 Series builds on that solid foundation with rock-solid 21st century hardware. The Cisco 900 Series is a silent, fan-less chassis designed to fit into any office. With that comes the interfaces you need today including LTE (available soon), ADSL/VDSL, Gigabit Ethernet WAN and switching. Modern components bring Cisco IOS performance on par with current branch routers including high performance encrypted VPN and firewall. Thousands of features you expect from a Cisco Branch Router, including some the 2500 never dreamed of, are built in such as MPLS, IPSLA, AVC, PfR and more with performance that’s more than 100 times what the 2500 could dream of.
Just One More Thing
There’s also one more throwback to classic small branch routers you might notice in the new Cisco 900 Series ISR and that’s the internal power supply. The Cisco 921 & 931 ISRs do away with the external power supply “brick” common to branch office devices and brings the power supply inside the router which can really clean up a cluttered branch environment. Getting the power supply inside a passively cooled chassis with a wide temperature range is a big engineering deal. Yes, I really did just geek out over a power supply.
The Cisco 900 Series is a modern classic. It complements other members of the ISR portfolio, such as the ISR 1000 Series and ISR 4000 Series, while providing an easy migration path for Cisco 800 Series users. It isn’t the fastest or flashiest member of the ISR family. What it is is a solid, reliable performer with the features you need to sort out the most complex of network nightmares. Isn’t that what most IT professionals really want when the business is on the line?