Cisco brings IT and OT networks closer together with its Catalyst IR8100 routers

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Cisco is adding routers to its Catalyst industrial networking hardware line. Objective: foster a unified architecture on edge sites, including branches, subsidiaries, remote operational sites and fleets.

Cisco concentrates capacity

The Catalyst 5G family of industrial routers must allow integration of remote and edge network resources. The series includes three modular routers and a gateway that run IOS XE home operating system and support various network access technologies like SD-WAN, WiFi 6, 5G, 4G, private LTE, FirstNet and Wi-SUN. The goal is to enable customers to connect corporate networks and SD-WANs to remote operations so that IT can build, secure, and manage unified IT at the edge. “In general, organizations have a habit of connecting industrial edge environments in isolation, which fragments the network architecture, increases security vulnerabilities and isolates data,” wrote Vikas Butaney, vice president and general manager of Cisco IoT, in a new systems blog.

As they accelerate their digital transformation, organizations need to simplify management and security on the network and at the edge. “Our new routing portfolio enables customers to have a unified architecture for their various use cases at the edge, from head office to remote environments. The same rich functionality and the same robust security models apply across the enterprise, from campuses and branches to subsidiaries, remote operating sites, fleets, and connected assets on the move, ”said Mr. Butaney wrote again. “It is now possible to securely connect edge environments to reduce outages, integrate renewables and improve network resilience. Transportation system providers can optimize routes for first responders and share real-time location and safety information with travelers. No matter what the business, it is possible to connect your networks with a common architecture and a holistic approach to enterprise-wide security, ”said Mr. Butaney.

Optional CPU and storage updates

Modular routers, including the Catalyst IR8100, IR8100 Heavy Duty Series, and IR8300 Rugged Series Router, are customizable, and all can benefit from a storage or CPU upgrade in the field. From a security perspective, the routers support Cisco’s Cyber ​​Vision package which enables automated discovery of industrial assets connected to Cisco’s broad portfolio of IIoT networks. The information collected by Cisco Cyber ​​Vision can also be used to develop segmentation policies in existing engines Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) for access control and segmentation and DNA Center for centralized management. Cyber ​​Vision supports Cisco Edge Intelligence software to simplify the extraction of IoT data at the edge of the network. IT and OT teams will be able to work together to provide advanced anomaly detection in IIoT environments. According to the OEM, “the architecture teaches what normal industrial traffic should look like, and if anything is out of the ordinary, IT and operational security managers can be notified immediately.”

These routers complement Cisco’s rugged industrial networking family, which includes the Catalyst IE3x00 series of Gigabit Ethernet switches and Integrated Services IR1101 routers designed specifically for IoT environments. All of these routers are modular, so customers can update them to incorporate new features, like 5G, without having to replace them. The new Cisco IoT Gateway series supports the Cisco IoT Operations Dashboard, a cloud-based provisioning and management platform for edge devices. Cisco Industrial Routers and Catalyst Gateway will be available this month.

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