Difference Between Cisco NCS and ASR (With Table)

Difference Between Cisco NCS and ASR (With Table)

Cisco, a renowned networking solutions provider, offers a range of router series to meet the diverse needs of enterprises and service providers. Among these, the Cisco Network Convergence System (NCS) and Aggregation Services Router (ASR) series are prominent.

This comprehensive comparison will explore the differences between the Cisco NCS and ASR series routers, exploring their purposes, capabilities, and suitable use cases.

Cisco NCS (Network Convergence System)

  1. Introduction to Cisco NCS
    • Cisco NCS, part of Cisco’s carrier-grade router portfolio, is designed to support next-generation networking services and provide convergence of various network services.
    • It is primarily intended for service providers, offering a scalable and high-capacity platform to handle the demands of modern networks.
  2. Use Cases and Target Audience
    • Cisco NCS is best suited for service providers, telecom operators, and large enterprises requiring high-performance routers for managing large-scale networks.
    • Use cases include core network routing, edge routing, and aggregation of diverse services like video, voice, and data.
  3. Scalability and Capacity
    • NCS routers are known for their scalability and ability to scale up to handle massive traffic loads.
    • They support high port densities and offer multi-terabit throughput, making them ideal for large-scale deployments.
  4. Advanced Features
    • Cisco NCS routers come equipped with advanced features such as Segment Routing (SR), which enhances network flexibility and efficiency.
    • They also support automation and programmability through Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) technologies.
  5. Notable NCS Models
    • Key NCS models include the Cisco NCS 5500 and NCS 5000 series, offering a wide range of options to cater to different network requirements.
    • These models differ in capacity, interface types, and form factors.

Cisco ASR (Aggregation Services Router)

  1. Introduction to Cisco ASR
    • Cisco ASR series routers are versatile platforms for enterprise and service provider networks.
    • They are known for their high availability and reliability, making them suitable for critical network applications.
  2. Use Cases and Target Audience
    • Cisco ASR routers are suitable for various applications, including enterprise branch routing, WAN aggregation, and service provider edge routing.
    • They cater to a broad audience, from small businesses to large enterprises and service providers.
  3. Scalability and Capacity
    • ASR routers offer excellent scalability, with models available for various network sizes and needs.
    • They provide a range of throughput options, from sub-gigabit to multi-terabit, ensuring flexibility in network design.
  4. Advanced Features
    • Cisco ASR routers feature advanced technologies like Network Function Virtualization (NFV), enabling the deployment of virtualized network services.
    • They also support software-defined networking (SDN) and offer embedded security features.
  5. Notable ASR Models
    • Key ASR models include the Cisco ASR 1000, ASR 9000, and ASR 920 series, each tailored to specific network requirements.
    • These models vary in form factors, interface options, and capabilities.

Comparison of Cisco NCS and ASR Series Routers

AspectCisco NCSCisco ASR
Target AudienceService providers, large enterprisesEnterprises, service providers, businesses
Primary Use CasesCore network routing, edge routing, aggregationEnterprise branch routing, WAN aggregation
ScalabilityHighly scalable, multi-terabit throughputScalable, with options for various network sizes
Advanced FeaturesSegment Routing, Network Services OrchestratorNetwork Function Virtualization, SDN support
Key ModelsNCS 5500, NCS 5000 seriesASR 1000, ASR 9000, ASR 920 series

Bullet Points for Key Differences

  • Cisco NCS routers are primarily designed for service providers and large enterprises, whereas Cisco ASR routers cater to a broader audience, including small businesses.
  • NCS routers excel in handling core network routing, edge routing, and aggregation of diverse services, while ASR routers are well-suited for enterprise branch routing and WAN aggregation.
  • NCS routers offer remarkable scalability with multi-terabit throughput, making them ideal for large-scale deployments. ASR routers provide scalability options to suit various network sizes.
  • NCS routers feature advanced technologies like Segment Routing and Cisco Network Services Orchestrator, enhancing network flexibility and automation. ASR routers support Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN).
  • Key NCS models include the NCS 5500 and NCS 5000 series, while ASR offers models like ASR 1000, ASR 9000, and ASR 920 series, each tailored to specific network requirements.


  1. Cisco NCS and ASR series routers serve distinct purposes in the networking world, targeting different audiences and use cases.
  2. NCS routers excel in high-capacity service provider environments, offering advanced features like Segment Routing and automation.
  3. ASR routers, on the other hand, cater to a wider range of applications, from enterprise branch routing to WAN aggregation, with a focus on reliability and scalability.
  4. Understanding these differences is crucial for organizations to make informed decisions when selecting the right router series to meet their networking needs.
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