‘Uniting this unruly edge’ – Cisco claims easy modularity, high security for new 5G family
Cisco has announced a new portfolio of industrial 5G routers for edge networking setups, with support also for LTE, WI-Fi 6, as well as the open Wi-SUN (‘wireless smart utility network’) mesh protocol, which Cisco is promoting for indoor IoT-style sensor networks. The new portfolio comprises three 5G routers, available now under the Catalyst brand, and a new Cisco IoT Gateway Series.
The routing portfolio is presented as modular, scalable, and secure. It can be adapted and expanded, as new industrial applications and devices are deployed. It also offers a range of modules, including for industrial-grade 5G and LTE on both public or private networks, and common public safety technologies like FirstNet, DSL, Wi-SUN. The units allow for upgradeable storage, and field updates of the central processing units and batteries.
The routers enable managers to control security across siloed IT and OT environments, said Cisco. They integrate Cisco’s Cyber Vision product, which embeds a sensor inside the industrial network to detect threats and provides remote visibility of and access to all edge-based IoT devices. “[It enables] organizations to build a truly converged IT/operations threat management strategy – without the need for extra boxes and vendors,” said Cisco.
A statement said: “As 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and new technologies proliferate, the edge must be able to quickly adapt. The time is now to prepare the edge to handle the future… Cisco’s IoT router portfolio is the broadest on the market, bringing reliable connectivity to any IoT edge use case to run connected operations securely and at scale. The portfolio provides unprecedented modularity to future-proof the network with a broad variety of access technologies.”
The new IoT gateway series, comprising “cloud-simple [and] cost-effective [gateways”, has been packaged with Cisco’s cloud-based IoT operations dashboard for easy plug-and-play setup for “previously unconnected assets”.
Vikas Butaney, vice president of IoT at Cisco, commented: “Our customers need hardware to be in play in their operational environments for seven-to-10 years. This modularity eliminates a rip and replace cycle to take advantage of 5G and whatever comes next. Now they can easily take advantage of new technologies and future-proof their networking investments.”
Kevin Prouty, Group Vice President for energy and manufacturing insights at IDC, said in the press release: “Each [industrial use case] different protocols, connectivity requirements, form factors, and security. There are often multiple vendors involved, creating siloed networks, increased maintenance, and cyber risks. Uniting this unruly edge can be the gateway to real transformation. Approaches like Cisco’s new industrial routing portfolio potentially simplifies the management of this complexity, securely and at scale.”