Difference Between Cisco ASR and ISR

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Cisco ASR and ISR

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Both small and large-scale computer settings may use Cisco's extensive selection of routers. Aggregation Services Routers and Integrated Services Routers, two of Cisco's main router product lines, are made for different uses. Continue reading to discover more about the functions of these routers and some of the main distinctions between Cisco ASR and ISR routers. Enterprises and service providers are the most significant candidates for Cisco's ASR series. They are perfect for high-bandwidth uses like streaming video. The ASR 900 Series, ASR 1000 Series, and ASR 9000 Series are the current models of routers in the ASR series.

The ASR 9000 Series is the top-tier router among the three; in addition to edge routing capabilities, it also provides core routing capabilities. Although all ASR series routers support up to 100G Ethernet, only the ASR 900 Series and ASR 1000 Series are capable of edge routing. As a result, since it has edge routing capabilities, small enterprises and branch offices generally utilize the ISR series from Cisco with minor- or medium-sized networks. The ISR 800 Series, ISR 1900 Series, ISR 2900 Series, ISR 3900 Series, and ISR 4000 Series are the current router models in the ISR series.

The primary distinction between Cisco ASR and ISR routers is that ASR routers are designed for businesses and service providers. In contrast, ISR routers are intended for clients with minor- to medium-sized networks. In general, compared to ISR routers, the ASR series has more functionality and greater performance levels because it is intended for large-scale applications. ASR routers, for instance, provide faster Ethernet, have more ports per unit space, and the ASR 9000 Series is the only router series with core routing capabilities.

Cisco ASR vs. Cisco ISR

Cisco ISR and ASR are utilized in locations with small to medium-sized businesses and small offices, respectively. In contrast, Cisco ASR is used in locations with large-scale network requirements, such as enterprises or service providers. Cisco ISR is employed wherever there is a need for low bandwidth service. Cisco has released several routers under the ISR series. The ISR 800 series, ISR 1900 series, ISR 2900 series, ISR 3900 series and the ISR 4000 series are some of them. They use the IOS operating system to function.

In locations where high bandwidth service needs exist, Cisco ASR is deployed. They use IOS XE as their operating system. Cisco has released several routers under the ISR series. These consist of the ASR 900, ASR 1000, and ASR 9000 series. As previously indicated, the ISR series routers are for small- to medium-sized networks, and the ASR series routers are for businesses and service providers. The ISR series has a substantially lower footprint than the ASR series since it is designed for less computing-intensive situations.

The ASR series has more features and greater performance levels since it is designed for large-scale applications and significant businesses. For instance, compared to the 10 G capabilities of the ISR series, ASR routers can handle more incredible Ethernet speeds of up to 100 G. Additionally, the ASR series has a more significant port density. Additionally, the only router in either series with core routing capability is the ASR 9000 Series.

Difference Between Cisco ASR And Cisco ISR in Tabular Form

Parameters Of Comparison Cisco ISR Cisco ASR
Purpose Specifically for usage in small networks, Cisco ISR is created. To be used in extensive networks, Cisco ASR was mainly created.
Speed Cisco ISR supports up to 10G of speed .

Cisco ASR can handle fast Ethernet connections that are up to 100G in speed.

Port volume The port density is lower for Cisco ISR. The port density is more significant in Cisco ASR.
Cloud connectivity Cisco ISR can reach the cloud. Cloud access is not available for Cisco ASR.
Operating System The ISR series use the Cisco IOS system. The Cisco IOS XE and XR systems are compatible with the ASR series.
Service provider core Not available Only available in ASR 9000
Data Center Interconnect No Present in ASR 9000 AND ASR 1000
Branch Yes Not present

What is Cisco ASR?

Aggregation Services Router is abbreviated as ASR. Businesses and service providers with extensive networks need to employ the Cisco ASR. Cisco ASR provides service to locations with high bandwidth needs. IOS XE serves as the operating system for Cisco ASR. Under the ASR line, Cisco has launched several router series. They include the ASR 900 series, ASR 1000 series, and ASR 9000 series. The ASR 9000 series is the most sophisticated of all the ASR series variations mentioned. It is the most pricey router offered by the firm. It offers its customers unmatched features by any other Cisco router. These include edge routing capabilities as well as core routing skills. The other ASR series routers, however, can only do edge routing. Enterprise networks and service providers generally employ aggregation services routers (ASR) for edge routing. They are perfect for high bandwidth applications like video conferencing or streaming music or video. The ASR 900 Series, ASR 1000 Series, ASR 5000 Series, and ASR 9000 Series are the current models of routers in the ASR series.

Compared to ISR routers, the ASR series provides more functionality and better performance levels. In contrast to the ISR 4000 series' 10 G capability, ASR routers have a higher port density and can handle faster Ethernet. Additionally, the only router in either series with core routing capability is the ASR 9000 Series.

Cisco IOS System

The Cisco IOS system does not support the ASR series. Instead, the IOS XR is used by the 9000 series. The 9000 series can access cloud computing thanks to this operating system. Users can also replace modules and upgrade software images without any consequences. IOS XE is the operating system used by the ASR 900 Series and ASR 1000 Series. Due to its concentration on high bandwidth networks, Cisco's ASR series delivers far more performance features than its ISR series. Improved speed performance, a more significant port density, and a larger footprint are a few of these. they may handle 100 Gbps Ethernet.

Benefits and Features Of Cisco ASR

Intent-based networking is offered by Cisco routing for WAN and LAN networks. Advanced analytics, application optimization, automated provisioning, and integrated security are all included in this complete, tested solution.

  1. Security over the WAN: From the WAN edge to the cloud, segmentation, robust encryption, and highly secure authentication help safeguard your users, data, and applications.
  2. On-demand network services: By providing integrated network services on demand, wherever you need them, You can increase IT efficiency and react to business demands more swiftly.
  3. Transform the client experience: Boost productivity by optimizing cloud and on-premises application performance utilizing real-time analytics, visibility, and management.
  4. Intent-based networking: Maintaining policy across thousands of locations while centralizing administration to make SD-WAN and security implementation easier.

Overview of the ASR 1000 Series Software

A group of software sub-packages is included in each consolidated package. Each software subpackage consists of a unique piece of software that manages a particular component (or components) of the Cisco ASR 1000 Series Router. It is possible to update each software subpackage separately or upgrade all software sub-packages for a specific consolidated package. It's important to note that IOS (the RPIOS subpackage) is one of the seven distinct subpackages that make up the whole consolidated package. In addition, support for the Cisco WebEx Node for ASR 1000 Series shared port adapter is made available starting with Cisco IOS XE Release 2.4 by way of an additional, optional subpackage of the type named sipspawma (SPA). Although optional subpackages are installed similarly to individual sub packages, they are not bundled together as part of a consolidated package like previous support for the individual sub-packages and thus must be obtained separately.

Overview of the ASR 9000 Series Software

The ASR 9000 is a high-density, high-performance edge platform for expanding or in-demand markets. The ASR can support connections ranging in speed from 1G to 400G, giving operators a foundation for long-term expansion that grows in front of demand. The Cisco ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers are among the highest capacity Carrier Ethernet systems available in the market. These routers best serve dense 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 100 Gigabit Ethernet connection aggregation. The Cisco ASR 9000 Series provides: in addition to greater size and capacity: Distributed forwarding and control planes for improved efficiency. Modularized hardware and software system components isolate errors and failures to specific subsystems and components. Support for zero packet loss on switchover using hardware-based fabric signaling. The route switch processor, switch fabric, control-plane chassis control bus, and power supply all have built-in redundancy, preventing the occurrence of a single point of failure.

What Is Cisco ISR?

Integrated Service Router is abbreviated as ISR. Small to medium enterprises and offices with simple networks typically utilize Cisco's Internet Services Routers. Cisco ISRs are frequently used in areas with limited bandwidth. Cisco offers various variations of this router model. The ISR 800 series, ISR 1900 series, ISR 2900 series, ISR 3900 series, and ISR 4000 series are only a handful. These devices run on the IOS operating system. One of the most dependable routers available is the ISR model. Whatever the user demands, they provide their client's safe communication from one network to another or from one line to another.

Cisco seeks to provide its clients with several benefits through the ISR series. Mobile networking and cloud computing are two of them. There is also the capacity to work with different media simultaneously, secure networking, and secure connections. Cisco offers much fewer performance options in the ISR series than the ASR series since it is designed for low bandwidth network requirements. These consist of a smaller footprint, slower speed handling, and fewer ports. They can manage 10 Gbps or higher speeds. With a wide range of capabilities that enable cloud computing, secure networking, multimedia performance, and mobile connection, ISR routers offer dependable, secure branch office connectivity. In addition, IOS, rather than IOS XE or IOS XR, is used by the ISR series. ISR series routers have a substantially lower footprint than ASR series routers since they are designed for less computing-intensive settings. The ISR series' maximum Ethernet speeds are likewise lower; its top-tier router, the ISR 4000, only supports 10G Ethernet.

ISR Router Process

A business router, also known as a WAN router, ISR router, or access router, links people inside the company to customers and clients online. The IP router for companies or nonprofits is situated between the enterprise Local-Area Network (LAN) and the Wide-Area Network (WAN) run by an Internet service provider (ISP). Typically, the equipment is referred to by service providers as a CPE router. A virtual private network (VPN) router is a business router that uses VPN technology to give distant workers very secure access to the company's internal network. Users within the business can connect thanks to tunneling methods and IPSec encryption securely.

Models for ISR Routers

Cisco designed the ISR layout switches to operate under less demanding situations. They thus have slower maximum Ethernet speeds. The ISR 4000, for instance, supports up to 10 G Ethernet. The industry-driving system, figure, and WAN administrations were entirely catered for in the ISR arrangement switches. Cloud computing, distributed computing, secure system administration, interactive media execution, and portable availability are all made possible by the ISR's robust characteristics. The ISR uses the IOS operating system and has a smaller footprint than the ASR since it is designed for less computationally demanding situations.

The following series:

  • ISR 800 Series
  • ISR 1900 Series
  • ISR 2900 Series
  • ISR 3900 Series
  • ISR 4000 Series

Main Difference Between Cisco ASR And Cisco ISR in Points

  • Cisco ISR is for small networks, whereas Cisco ASR is for use with more extensive networks.
  • The Cisco IOS system is compatible with ASR series devices, but the Cisco IOS XE and IOS XR systems are compatible with ASR series devices.
  • Cisco ISR offers cloud access. However, Cisco ASR does not.
  • While Cisco ASR can manage fast Ethernet connections up to 100G, Cisco ISR can handle speeds up to 10G.
  • Cisco ASR has a higher port density than Cisco ISR.
  • The primary distinction between Cisco ASR and ISR routers is that ASR routers are designed for businesses and service providers. In contrast, ISR routers are intended for clients with small- to medium-sized networks.
  • Compared to ISR routers, the ASR series has more functionality and performs at higher levels because it is intended for large-scale applications.
  • Compared to ISR routers, ASR routers can handle Ethernet faster and have more ports, and the only router series that has basic routing capabilities is the ASR 9000 Series.


There are many different routers available that are ideal for different computer environments, whether they are found in small organizations or enterprises. Your business may perfectly fit into one or the other; selecting a router is simple and obvious. However, it could be challenging to discover the ideal match for your network when you go from a mid-sized business to an enterprise-based system as your company grows. If your company is small to medium-sized, choosing the Cisco ISR router series is straightforward. The Cisco ASR is superior for extensive business networks and edge routing with significant bandwidth needs. However, it might not be easy for a business wanting to grow.


  • https://brightstarsystems.com/cisco-asr-vs-isr/#:~:text=The%20biggest%20difference%20between%20Cisco,%2D%20or%20medium%2Dsized%20networks.

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"Difference Between Cisco ASR and ISR." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 19 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-cisco-asr-and-isr-983>.

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