Cisco deal a play for completeness
Cisco Systems is taking the new mobile IP network very seriously. This time around it's not merely content to optimize its IP router portfolio for the peculiarities of the long-term evolution evolved packet core — an approach it took with 3G. For 4G, it's bringing in wireless gateway specialist Starent Networks via recent acquisition. Its dedicated mobile packet core platform was a big hit among 3G operators, and Cisco is counting on it being just as popular with 4G operators.
Starent doesn't just bring momentum to the table, though. Its ST40 platform fills in critical holes in its portfolio such as the mobility management element of the LTE core and the serving GPRS support node on high-speed packet access networks. Cisco has always been able to route IP traffic on the mobile network — with Starent's gear it can terminate all data sessions coming off of the radio network. Combine those capabilities with the IP routers that sit behind the mobile core and Cisco will be able to offer what few vendors can: an end-to-end core network all the way to the data center.
“We will be able to offer a complete solution, minus the radio, going back into the multimedia core,” said Ashraf Dahod, president and CEO of Starent Networks, who will head Cisco's new mobile Internet technology group once the deal closes. “The operator will be able to build a complete core using the suite of Cisco products.”
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