Networking

Cisco aims for a go-anywhere router

Cisco Systems made its fortune selling routers for the cores of enterprise and service-provider networks, but now the company is sending its technology farther from those cozy confines than ever before.

The Cisco Integrated Services Router 819 Machine-to-Machine Gateway, available immediately, is the smallest member of the ISR family of branch and remote-office routers and is designed to withstand outdoor environments with extreme temperatures. Target markets for the device include truck fleets, tollbooths and ATMs (automated teller machines). The ISR 819 can also serve as a conventional router in a remote office, said Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior director of marketing for borderless networks.

Unlike most routers, the 819 relies primarily on cellular data to reach the Internet. This opens up more possible uses for the router, including moving vehicles. The router  weighs only 2.3 pounds (1 kilogram) and is thicker but smaller than a tablet.

To ensure communication in isolated locations, the ISR 819 is equipped for 3G connectivity. It is available with both GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) technology and has room for two SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards, so users can set up service with two different mobile operators for redundancy. Cisco is also eyeing 4G capability next year, though most machine-to-machine (M2M) applications aren’t bandwidth-hungry.

M2M (machine-to-machine) networking is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. Functions such as meter-reading, asset tracking and supply-level notifications can be automated through radios built into systems in the field, and wireless links can help to make it easier to network those devices.

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