Cisco ISR vs ASR: Difference and Comparison

The most basic definition of a router is that it connects two more networks. A router routes the IP addresses to route the package and is responsible for path determination.

In addition to connecting multiple networks, a router also allows network devices to communicate and multiple users to access the internet.

As the name implies, it routes traffic between the devices and the internet or between devices on the other line. Cisco is one of the leading manufacturers of routers. ISR and ASR are among their top-selling products.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cisco ISR routers target small to medium-sized businesses, while ASR routers focus on enterprise and service provider networks.
  2. ASR routers deliver higher throughput and better performance than ISR routers.
  3. Cisco ASR supports more concurrent connections and provides better scalability than ISR.

Cisco ISR vs ASR

ISR routers offer a range of throughput speeds, security features, and routing protocols to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. ASR routers are designed for large enterprises and service providers that require high-performance, high-speed connectivity over WANs.

Cisco ISR vs ASR

Cisco ISR is used in places with low bandwidth service requirements. There are several ISR series of routers introduced by Cisco.

They include the ISR 800 series, ISR 1900 series, ISR 2900 series, ISR 3900 series, and ISR 4000 series. They operate on the IOS operating system.

Cisco ASR is used in places with high bandwidth service requirements. They operate on the IOS XE operating system. There are several ISR series of routers introduced by Cisco. They include the ASR 900 series, ASR 1000 series, and ASR 9000 series.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCisco ISR Cisco ASR
UsesCisco ISR is designed specifically for use in small networks.Cisco ASR is designed specifically for use in large networks.
Operating systemThe ISR series works on the Cisco IOS system.The ASR series works on the Cisco IOS XE and XR system. 
Cloud accessCisco ISR has cloud access.Cisco ASR does not have cloud access.
SpeedCisco ISR can handle speeds of up to 10G.Cisco ASR is capable of handling fast Ethernet connections, which reach speeds up to 100G.
Port densityCisco ISR has a lower port density.Cisco ASR has a higher port density.

What is Cisco ISR?

ISR is short for Integrated Service Router. Generally, Cisco’s Internet Services Routers are used in small to medium businesses and small offices with low network requirements.

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Cisco ISRs are used in low bandwidth environments. This router series is available from Cisco in several variants. A few of them are the ISR 800 series, the ISR 1900 series, the ISR 2900 series, the ISR 3900 series, and the ISR 4000 series.

The IOS operating system is used in these models.

ISR routers are one of the most reliable routers out there. They provide their customers with secure connectivity from one network to another or from one line to another, whatever is the user requirement.

Cisco wants to provide its customers with several features through the ISR series. Among these are cloud computing and mobile networking capabilities.

Safe networking, secure connection, and the capability to work with multiple media simultaneously are also available. The ISR series operates on the Cisco IOS operating system. 

Because Cisco produces the ISR series for low bandwidth network requirements, they provide significantly fewer performance features in the ISR series than the ASR series.

These include a reduced footprint, less speed handling, and lower port density. They can handle speeds up to 10 Gbps. 

What is Cisco ASR?

ASR is short for Aggregation Services Router. The Cisco ASR is used by enterprises and service providers with large network requirements. Cisco ASR serves places with high bandwidth service requirements.

Cisco ASR runs on the IOS XE operating system. Cisco has introduced several router series under the ASR line. The ASR 900 series, the ASR 1000 series, and the ASR 9000 series are among them.

Of all the ASR series variants discussed, the ASR 9000 series is the most advanced. It is the company’s most expensive router. It provides its consumers with features that no other routers by Cisco possibly can.

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Among these are core routing capabilities and edge routing capabilities. In contrast, the other ASR series routers have only edge routing capabilities.

The ASR series does not work on the Cisco IOS system. Instead, the 9000 series operates on the IOS XR. This operating system allows the 9000 series access to cloud computing.

In addition to that, users can upgrade software images and change modules without affecting anything. The ASR 900 Series and the ASR 1000 series operate on the IOS XE.

Cisco’s ASR series offers considerably more performance features than its ISR series due to its focus on high bandwidth networks.

These include increased footprint, larger port density, and better speed performance. They are capable of handling 100 Gbps Ethernet. 

Main Differences Between Cisco ISR and ASR

  1. While Cisco ISR is designed specifically for small networks, Cisco ASR is explicitly intended for use with more extensive networks.
  2. ISR series devices are compatible with the Cisco IOS system, whereas ASR series devices are compatible with Cisco IOS XE and IOS XR systems. 
  3. Cloud access is available from Cisco ISR, but not from Cisco ASR.
  4. Cisco ISR can handle speeds up to 10G, whereas Cisco ASR can handle fast Ethernet connections up to 100G.
  5. Compared to Cisco ISR, Cisco ASR has a greater port density.

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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9 thoughts on “Cisco ISR vs ASR: Difference and Comparison”

  1. It’s important to know the difference between ISR and ASR for network optimization. The article provided a lot of useful information in a clear and concise manner.

    • I completely agree with you. These series of routers are for different purposes. This article has done an excellent job explaining the details.

  2. Cisco ISR and ASR routers are highly sophisticated machines. Understanding their differences is essential for network professionals. The comparison between them in the article is insightful.

  3. I found the article to be overly technical, making it difficult to comprehend for those who are not well-versed in computer networking. The language used and the level of detail was excessive.

    • The technicality of the article is necessary given the complex nature of the subject matter. It doesn’t aim to cater to those without expertise in the field. It’s a commendable piece for professionals.

  4. The article did an excellent job highlighting the differences between Cisco ISR and ASR routers. The details provided are beneficial for professionals in the field.

  5. The article effectively described the specifics of ISR and ASR routers, making it easier for the reader to understand the distinctions. Excellent content.

  6. The comparison table was the most helpful part of the article for me. It clearly outlined the distinctions between ISR and ASR routers. Great piece of work.


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