[c-nsp] NCS-5501/NCS-5502 as border/core routers

Simon Lockhart simon at slimey.org
Wed Aug 23 02:40:07 EDT 2017


I'm currently trying to plan some upgrades for one of my networks where we 
currently use Cat6500/Sup2T as both 'core' and 'border' routers, but are very
rapidly outgrowing them. I've recently split off the L2 transport aspects from
the 6500's onto 100G capable switches (I ended up using Extreme X690/X870 here)
which has freed up some capacity, but now looking at what to do about the L3
routing aspects, working with full Internet routing tables.

I'd always planned to move up to the ASR9k for this, but the price of 100G
ports for them is eyewateringly expensive when compared to switching boxes. I
then stumbled across the NCS-5501-SE and NCS-5502-SE boxes. These, on paper,
look ideal - the 5501's as border routers with 100G uplinks to the core, and
the 5502's as core routers in our main datacentres. In particular, the 5502
appears to give me 48 x 100G ports for way less than the cost of ASR9k with 
just 4 x 100G ports.

I fully recognise the difference between L3 switches (which I see the NCS
boxes as) and true routers - I've been using the Cat6500 in this role for
7+ years!

Are there people on this list who are actively using these boxes like this?
Any gotchas, recommendations, scare stories? Does anyone understand the
licensing on them? I've struggled to find any Cisco published information
about what is/isn't included in each of the license options...

Many thanks,


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