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Cisco ASR vs. Cisco ISR — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 13, 2024
Cisco ASR (Aggregation Services Routers) are designed for high-end enterprise and service provider networks, while Cisco ISR (Integrated Services Routers) are for small to medium-sized businesses and branch offices.
Cisco ASR vs. Cisco ISR — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Cisco ASR and Cisco ISR


Key Differences

Cisco ASR routers are engineered for high-performance network services, supporting greater throughput for demanding enterprise and service provider networks. They provide scalability features that allow the network to grow in size and capabilities. Cisco ISR routers, in contrast, offer integrated services for small to medium-sized businesses with a focus on flexibility and cost-efficiency, capable of providing a variety of services including voice, video, and data on a single platform.
Cisco ASRs are typically deployed in the network core and at the edge of larger networks where handling high volumes of traffic is necessary. They are built to support numerous high-speed interfaces for large-scale data transfer and high-bandwidth applications. Cisco ISRs, however, are more commonly found at branch offices where they integrate multiple network functions into a single device, reducing complexity and simplifying management.
In terms of service integration, Cisco ASR routers are focused more on advanced traffic management, application optimization, and security services at a larger scale. This series prioritizes performance and service consolidation. Cisco ISR routers deliver a wide range of services including VPN support, wireless connectivity, and advanced security features suited for smaller-scale operations where these integrated services are critical.
Cisco ASR series offers a modular design that provides flexibility for future upgrades and high availability options to minimize downtime. This is essential for mission-critical enterprise environments and service providers. Cisco ISR series is designed with the versatility to support a diverse set of modules and interfaces, making them adaptable to changing business needs without requiring a complete hardware overhaul.
The investment in Cisco ASR routers is justified for environments that demand high resiliency, throughput, and long-term scalability. On the other hand, Cisco ISR routers are cost-effective solutions for businesses seeking a multipurpose network device that combines routing, switching, wireless, and security functionalities.

Comparison Chart

Designed For

High-end enterprise and service provider networks.
Small to medium-sized business networks and branch offices.


High performance with a focus on throughput and scalability.
Balanced performance with integrated services.


Network core and edge for handling high traffic volumes.
Branch offices for multiple network functions.

Service Integration

Advanced traffic management and optimization.
VPN, wireless, and security services.


Higher investment for more demanding network environments.
Cost-effective for integrated network services.

Compare with Definitions

Cisco ASR

High-capacity routers for enterprise and ISPs.
We upgraded our data center with Cisco ASR to handle more traffic.

Cisco ISR

Adaptable to various modules for expanding services.
Adding a new voice module to our Cisco ISR was straightforward.

Cisco ASR

Supports extensive network interfaces and throughput.
Cisco ASR provides the bandwidth necessary for our growing network demands.

Cisco ISR

Combines routing, switching, and security features.
Cisco ISR simplifies management by consolidating multiple functions.

Cisco ASR

Designed for robust performance and high availability.
Our network’s uptime improved since deploying Cisco ASR routers.

Cisco ISR

Balances cost and performance for branch connectivity.
Cisco ISR provides the connectivity our remote sites need affordably.

Cisco ASR

Offers service integration for complex networks.
Cisco ASR was chosen for its ability to streamline network services.

Cisco ISR

Versatile routers providing integrated network services.
Our branch office network relies on Cisco ISR for all its services.

Cisco ASR

Routers suitable for a scalable network infrastructure.
Cisco ASR makes scaling our network infrastructure seamless.

Cisco ISR

Ideal for small to medium-sized business networking.
The Cisco ISR fits our business's size and budget perfectly.

Common Curiosities

Are Cisco ISR routers good for small businesses?

Yes, they offer cost-effective integrated services perfect for small businesses.

Are Cisco ASR routers suitable for data center environments?

Yes, due to their high throughput and scalability, they are ideal for data centers.

What makes Cisco ISR routers suitable for branch offices?

Their ability to consolidate multiple network functions makes them ideal for branches.

Do Cisco ASR routers offer advanced security features?

Yes, they provide a range of security features suitable for large-scale operations.

Is it easy to integrate voice services with Cisco ISR?

Yes, Cisco ISR routers can easily integrate voice services with appropriate modules.

Can I upgrade Cisco ISR routers as my business grows?

Yes, they are modular and can be upgraded with new interfaces and services.

What is the Cisco ASR used for?

It’s used for high-performance, high-throughput enterprise, and service provider networks.

Can Cisco ASR routers handle 10-Gigabit Ethernet interfaces?

Yes, Cisco ASR routers support high-speed interfaces including 10-Gigabit Ethernet.

Can Cisco ASR routers be used in a small office environment?

They can, but it might be overkill due to their capacity and cost.

Can Cisco ISR handle enterprise-level traffic?

It depends on the scale, but ISRs are generally geared towards SME traffic levels.

Do Cisco ISR routers support wireless connectivity?

Yes, many ISR models support wireless connectivity options.

Are Cisco ISR routers capable of content filtering?

Yes, with the right software and modules, they can perform content filtering.

How do Cisco ASR routers contribute to network redundancy?

They offer features like high availability and failover capabilities for redundancy.

Do Cisco ASR routers support virtualization technologies?

Yes, they support various virtualization technologies for service consolidation.

Are Cisco ASR routers more expensive than Cisco ISR?

Typically, yes, due to their enhanced capabilities and performance.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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