Cisco is marketing the ISR 4000 series routers as a replacement for the beloved 2900/3900 and 2800/3800 series routers. I wish this was the case; the ISR 4000 series routers is a poor replacement for the earlier series routers. The main reason for this is Cisco artificially limits the bandwidth and traffic across the ISR 4000.
At the bottom end, the 4221 Router has gig interfaces, but will only allow a measly 35 Mbps across. Of course you could “upgrade” this with a “performance” license to increase it to 75Mbps at a mere cost of $1000 MSRP. This would still not let you use the now close to $3000 router at anywhere near its 1 Gb interfaces. In fact, to be able to send 1 Gbps interface, you would have to upgrade the router to the ISR 4431 and still purchase the extra “performance” license. That means the bottom-end new Cisco router that can do 1 Gb would be the ISR 4431 at $11,000 MSRP, and add another $3600 for the performance license.
This means on the Cisco line, the bottom-end router capable of doing 1 Gbps would be $14600 at MSRP. That is insane! It appears that Cisco is getting extremely greedy; it is hard to recommend a router that costs twice as much as the previous router, but with an artificially limited performance.
Any Reasons to Consider the Cisco ISR 4000 Series?
So why buy the new ISR 4000 series line over the older 2800 or 2900 series? To reward greed? Unless you absolutely need an active support contract on the device, I could not suggest the new Cisco ISR 4000 series and would suggest to keep using the older and better 2800 and 2900 series routers.
Jason Howe, PEI