Difference Between Cisco ISR and ASR

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.

Cisco ISR vs ASR

The main difference between Cisco ISR and ASR is that Cisco ISR is used in places where network requirements are small, such as small or medium scale businesses and tiny offices, whereas Cisco ASR is used for large scale network requirements such as enterprises or service providers.  

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 Between Cisco ISR and ASR

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.

Cisco ISRs are typically 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.

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.

Among these are 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 use with small networks, Cisco ASR is designed specifically for use with larger 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.


Routers are the need of the hour for nearly every company. A router is essential for every kind of business, whether it is a small or medium-sized business with a handful of workers and a branch office, or a large corporation providing internet services.

Routers from Cisco are widely regarded as one of the best. All over the world, its ISR and ASR series are popular with consumers.

Despite being two of Cisco’s most popular router series, a customer needs to know the differences between the two before choosing one over the other.

ISR series routers are suitable for small-scale applications, whereas ASR series routers are suitable for large-scale applications.

Keeping this and other subtle differences in mind, the consumer can get the most out of their purchase and enjoy the use of these routers.


  1. https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=20411678
  2. https://www.miralishahidi.ir/resources/Cisco%20ASR%201000%20Series%20Aggregation%20Services%20Routers%20SIP%20and%20SPA%20Software%20Configuration%20Guide.pdf
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