Enterprise Routers Overview
Author: Vladyslav Myronovych, for ROI4CIO
Enterprise routers are basic products that are used by any company. They are necessary for the normal functioning of the business, its local and global networks. But the purpose of these devices is not only to route the packets and ensure the operation of the network. You can learn about the main features of the models available on the market from our comparative table.
One of the main questions that is asked by profane people is how routers differ from switches. In a nutshell, the switches are designed to connect multiple computers (and other equipment) to the local network to ensure its efficient operation and direct data packets to the correct addresses within the network. But at the same time, they do not have access to the Internet, so the local network built via a switch remains truly local. Routers, on the other hand, have access to the Internet, which means that they are able not only to create local networks, but also to provide devices and users with access to the Internet. Also, routers can combine several local networks into one. And not only within the same office, but throughout the world, creating the so-called WAN. Another feature of routers (but not of all) is the ability to create WLAN and transmit data over 3G and LTE cellular networks. Such features are very useful for organising guest user access and networking across the Internet.
Another very useful feature of routers is to create software-defined networks: SDN or SD-WAN. In modern networks there can be hundreds and even thousands of computers and peripherals, everyone has become accustomed to this for a long time. The difference between software-defined networks and ordinary ones is that the entire infrastructure is managed, configured and monitored from a single point. A new configuration is introduced on the central controller and from there it is sent to all network devices, thus eliminating the need for manual configuration. This approach greatly helps when working with large branch networks and significantly reduces the operating costs of infrastructure management.
Of course, these are not all of the advantages of routers. They know how to work with encrypted traffic and create secure VPN, provide some cybersecurity functions, can work with voice traffic, thus participating in the work of a corporate communication system.
One of the main features of the corporate router market is a small number of manufacturers, but there is a wide range of models for almost all of them, which helps to choose the devices necessary for specific tasks. And they can be very different: from the creation of a network infrastructure of a small company to the maintenance of large commercial data centres and clouds.
Cisco 4000 Series Integrated Services Routers
Cisco is a recognised leader in the corporate network equipment segment. The manufacturer has a line of network routers designed for a variety of tasks, ranging from working in small offices and ending with large data centres. The Cisco 4000 family, for example, is designed for use in large companies with an extensive network of offices and the need to run a variety of business applications. In this line, there are seven models of devices with high bandwidth and support for SD-WAN technologies (software-defined distributed networks). Branded software allows you to determine the best routes for traffic distribution, depending on network conditions. In addition, 4000 Series routers allow encryption, VPN tunnelling, traffic management, and many other functions.
Moreover, these features can be activated using separate licenses, that is, you can use only what is really necessary in the work of the company and not overpay for unnecessary functions. The most productive 4000 series device – ISR 4461 – offers users bandwidth from 1.5 to 10 Gb/s (with a special license), as well as 7 Gb/s for AES-256 encrypted traffic.
Routers of the presented line can be equipped with solid-state drives and server boards for local information storage and increasing computing capabilities of devices. For example, Cisco UCS-E cards are available with 8-core Intel Xeon processors, support for up to 48 GB of DDR3 memory, and up to three drives. Such opportunities allow you to save on dedicated servers for company branches and combine them with the computing resources of corporate data centres. And for the deployment of wireless networks (support of which is present in these routers) and the installation of Wi-Fi access points, the Power over Ethernet function will be useful, which allows powering the devices over a twisted pair.
Juniper MX Series 5G Universal Routing Platform
Juniper in the MX Series 5G line of devices represents a number of the most diverse routers in performance. Not for nothing, this platform is called universal – there is a large portfolio of routers with support for software-defined networks (SDN). They can be used for a wide range of tasks: building secure corporate WAN, working in small and large data centres, ensuring the operation of various business applications, cloud services, etc.
There are 15 models available in the line-up, from simple MX5 with a bandwidth of 20 Gbps to real monsters such as the MX2020 that have a bandwidth of up to 32 Tbps and support up to 480 40GbE or 320 100GbE interfaces. Such high performance and density of this router allows you to use it for the most demanding tasks, such as creating a corporate VPN, running cloud applications or broadband multi-user data transfer. In addition, the MX2020 supports sophisticated synchronisation and virtualisation features that meet the high demands of mobile services.
Other models of the line are designed for simpler tasks. For example, the MX5, MX10, MX40 and MX80 models are suitable for corporate applications, as well as for networking in small companies. The MX104 and MX204 models will already be more powerful – they are suitable for flexible network connectivity and virtualized network services, working with VPN and Layer 2 and 3 networks, as well as mobile applications. Thanks to reliable physical protection according to the ETSI 300 standard, the model MX104 can be used in critical areas. And the MX240 has extensive capabilities for scaling routing, switching, and security, ensuring (like 104th) the operation of Layer 2 and 3 networks, as well as ample opportunities for working with VPN and various applications.
Huawei AR2200 Series Enterprise Routers
Huawei is positioning its AR2200 corporate routers as devices for head offices and branches of medium-sized enterprises, as well as communications between them. Among the main features of these devices, the manufacturer highlights the versatility, scalability and security, as well as unified voice services for the organisation of internal corporate communications. Indeed, they provide the ability to add digital signal processing (DSP) modules and SIC smart interface cards, for installation of which there are up to four special ports in these routers. And thanks to working with multi-core processors, these and other cards can be replaced in a hot mode, without the need to turn off the router. The modules integrated into the devices also provide for the creation of wireless networks and data transmission using cellular communications (3G and 4G / LTE).
In the AR2200 series, there are seven models of routers equipped with up to 10 Gigabit WAN ports and up to two 10 Gigabit ports. The most advanced model – AR2240 – has a speed of up to 4.5 Gbit/s with all the services and services running. This is a very decent figure for devices of this class. In other models, the speeds are more modest (from 200 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s), but they are also more than enough for tasks that the devices of the AR2200 series solve. We also note that in the two youngest models of the line there is a function of power supply via a network cable, which will be useful when installing VoIP communication devices or wireless access points.
HPE FlexNetwork MSR3000 Router Series
Among the wide variety of enterprise routers from HPE, let’s pay attention to the FlexNetwork MSR3000 line. It is represented by four models with a capacity of 2.5 to 5 million packets per second (HPE prefer to measure the bandwidth in this format). And the processing speed of encrypted traffic is up to 3.3 Gbit/s. These devices are designed for use in large branches and at the same time have a compact size and economical power consumption. The presence of the Open Application Platform module provides support for a large number of virtualized applications, the presence of SIC ports provides high configuration flexibility, and voice modules allow voice traffic to be transmitted through them. In several models, there is also a function of power over twisted pair, which simplifies the creation of a corporate communication system.
The most productive model of the line – MSR3064 – has a six-core processor on board with a frequency of 1.3 GHz, 2 GB DDR3 RAM and two compartments for power supplies. It supports the PoE function and has two slots for voice processing modules, and also supports operation with 3G and 4G / LTE networks. You can control this device, like other models, remotely using the HPE Intelligent Management Centre (IMC) proprietary software.
Nokia 7750 SR-e
Perhaps for most people, the name Nokia is associated with the phones that were popular in the past decade. But if, at the end of the day, the Finns didn’t get on with smartphones, they got on with corporate routers just fine. The company has acquired the manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent and now successfully uses the achievements of this vendor under its own brand. The main product of the company in this area is the model range 7750 SR, which, in turn, is divided into several segments. Pay attention to the device 7750 SR-e. There are three routers available with bandwidth from 400 Gbit/s to 1.2 Tbit/s. The functionality of these devices allows you to use them for almost any task. Tasks to be solved: creation of corporate networks and broadband network gateways, ensuring the functioning of cloud services, in data centres, mobile and business applications, the creation of software-defined and wireless networks, work with 3G and 4G mobile traffic, and the Internet of things.
These devices scale very well. They support work even with 100-gigabit interfaces, which allows you to create really large branch networks and always meet the growing demands for traffic consumption. All three devices of the 7750 SR-e range support a wide range of network interfaces, have integrated service adapters (ISA) and common system modules optimised for various network and application requirements.
Extreme Networks CER 2000 Series Router
The Extreme Networks portfolio has four lines of corporate routers. In one of them – CER 2000 Series Router – two models of routers are available. They are designed specifically for compact placement and saving of not only space, but also electricity, which is spent both on their power and on creating suitable conditions for the operation of the equipment.
Both models have a capacity of 192 Gbit/s and 20 gigabit network ports on board. They support the function of transferring power over a network cable, and are able to work with VPN and SDN. One of the chips of the devices developers call working with video traffic. To deliver a video stream, for example, using IPTV technology, channels with high bandwidth are needed, and the equipment must also provide low latency. In the CER 2000 lineup, these parameters meet the requirements for video transmitted over various protocols. The same applies to other common data types.
Author: Vladyslav Myronovych, for ROI4CIO
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