Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME for Cisco 1841 and Cisco 2800, 2900, 3800 and 3900 Series ISRs
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Updated:September 29, 2008
The Cisco® Intrusion Prevention System Advanced Integration Module (IPS AIM) and Network Module Enhanced (IPS NME) bring integrated intrusion prevention to enterprise branch offices and expand network security to the edge.
The Cisco IPS AIM for the Cisco 1841 and Cisco 2800 and 3800 Series Integrated Services Routers and the Cisco IPS NME for the Cisco 2811, 2821, 2851, 3825, 3845, 2911, 2921, 2951, 3925 and 3945 Integrated Services Routers bring Cisco IPS to branch offices and small businesses (Figure 1). Cisco IPS is an integral component of the Cisco Self-Defending Network, an architectural solution designed for the evolving security landscape. Security is integrated everywhere, and with the help of a lifecycle services approach, enterprises can design, implement, operate, and optimize network platforms that defend critical business processes against attack and disruption, protect privacy, and support policy and regulatory compliance controls.
With the ever-increasing complexity and sophistication of security threats, every point in the network can be at risk. Cisco IPS accurately identifies, classifies, and stops malicious traffic, including worms, spyware, adware, network viruses, and application abuse. Vigilant protection helps ensure business continuity and minimizes the effect of costly intrusions.
Figure 1. Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME for Integrated Services Routers
Cisco offers a variety of IPS solutions; the Cisco IPS AIM is made for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and small branch offices, whereas the Cisco IPS NME is for small enterprises and large branch offices. Cisco IPS Sensor Software running on the Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME provides advanced, enterprise-class IPS functions and meets the ever-increasing security needs of branch offices. The Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME can scale in performance to match branch-office WAN bandwidth requirements today and in the future. At the same time, the integration of IPS onto the Cisco integrated services router keeps the solution cost low and effective for business of all sizes.
For ease of deployment and monitoring, Cisco IPS solutions offer different device configurations and event viewing options, including the Cisco IPS Device Manager (IDM) for single device management and Cisco IPS Manager Express (IME) for event monitoring for up to 5 IPS modules, Cisco Security Manager for networkwide device configuration and policy deployment, and Cisco Security Monitoring, Analysis and Response System (CS-MARS) for event monitoring and correlation.
The Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME for the Cisco 1841 and Cisco 2800, 2900, 3800 and 3900 Series Integrated Services Routers: Integrating IPS in a Full-Service Branch-Office Solution
By integrating IPS and branch-office routing, Cisco integrated services routers can secure remote branch-office networks from threats originating from the Internet and reduce the WAN link overload from infected hosts at the branch office. The integration of IPS into the branch-office router provides numerous important customer benefits:
• Dedicated processor to maximize performance: IPS AIM and IPS NME have their own CPUs and DRAMs for all IPS functions. They offload router CPU from processor-intensive tasks such as deep packet inspection from the host router.
• Performance: The Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME can monitor up to 45 and 75 Mbps of traffic, respectively, and are suitable for T1/E1 and up to T3 environments.
• Inline and promiscuous modes: Both inline and promiscuous IPS inspection modes are supported. Inline mode places the IPS module in the packet path and can be configured to drop violated packets.
• Common management tool for Cisco IPS solution: The Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME support Cisco Security Manager, the same management tool the Cisco IPS 4200 Series Sensors supports, allowing you to use one centralized management system for both appliance and router sensors.
• Flexibility in monitoring interfaces: The Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME connect directly to the router backplane and can monitor packets coming in and going out of any router interface, including T1, T3, DSL, ATM, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet.
• In-band management (AIM only): An internal Gigabit Ethernet port is used for in-band management of the Cisco IPS AIM command-line interface (CLI) and also for the web-based management application, Cisco IPS Device Manager. You can access the IPS AIM through the router console port or through the Secure Shell (SSH) Protocol to any Layer 3 interface. No physical management port is required.
• Out-of-band management (NME only): If you require a separate network for device management, the Cisco IPS NME has an external Gigabit Ethernet port dedicated for console and web-based device manager access.
• Physical space savings: The Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME plug into the integrated services router and save valuable real estate in the wiring closet.
• Reduced downtime (NME only): The NME slot(s) on modular integrated services routers are externally accessible and make field installation and replacement very simple. In addition, the Cisco 3945 Integrated Services Router supports online insertion and removal (OIR), which facilitates replacement of like-to-like modules without any power cycle, minimizing the mean time to repair and increasing the overall availability of the router.
• Simple power and cable management: Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME take advantage of the power options of the router, including DC power and redundant power.
• Security in depth: The Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME interoperate with security and WAN optimization features such as VPN, firewall, Network Address Translation (NAT), Web Cache Control Protocol (WCCP), and Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) as well as all common Cisco IOS® Software functions.
Figure 2 shows and example deployment of Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME in an Empowered Branch Office.
Figure 2. Deployment Example of Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME in Empowered Branch
Cisco IPS Advantages
Cisco IPS Sensor Software running on the Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME includes innovative security technologies that can give you the confidence to take prevention actions on a broader range of threats. These technologies, including global correlation and validation tools, greatly reduce the risk of dropping legitimate traffic.
Pervasive Network Integration
Cisco IPS solutions defeat threats from multiple vectors, including network, server, and desktop endpoints. The solutions extend across Cisco platforms, from purpose-built appliances and integrated firewall and IPS devices to services modules for routers and switches. A Cisco IPS solution protects the network from policy violations, vulnerability exploitations, and anomalous activity through detailed inspection of traffic at Layers 2 through 7 -- across the network.
Collaborative Threat Prevention
Cisco IPS employs a unique, system wide security ecosystem that collaborates, assesses, and reacts to threats, delivering excellent network scalability and resiliency. This ubiquitous alliance includes cross-solution feedback linkages, common policy management, multivendor event correlation, attack-path identification, passive and active fingerprinting, and host-based Cisco Security Agent-IPS collaboration.
Proactive Posture Adaptation
As the network threat posture changes, Cisco IPS evolves and adapts to stay ahead of the security landscape, mitigating threats from known and unknown attacks. Extensive behavioral analysis, anomaly detection, policy adjustments, and rapid threat response techniques save time, resources -- and most importantly -- the assets and productivity of your organization.
Installation of the Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME is as easy as configuring the router to recognize the card. After the IPS AIM and NME are initialized and running, you can modify configurations and push them to the modules from any of the management consoles.
Primary Management Features
Primary management features include the following:
• Cisco IPS Device Manager: Used for configuring network and switch IPS sensors, the Cisco IPS Device Manager provides a scalable foundation to configure multiple sensors concurrently using group profiles.
• Cisco IPS Manager Express: This application is used for monitoring IPS events generated by up to 5 IPS devices.
• Cisco Security Manager: Integrated monitoring is used to capture, store, view, correlate, and report on events from network IPS, switch IPS, host IPS, firewalls, and routers.
• CS-MARS: This application offers a family of high-performance, scalable appliances for threat management, monitoring, and mitigation.
Cisco IPS AIM Product Summary
Table 1 gives the part numbers and descriptions of the Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME.
Table 1. Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME Part Numbers
Product Part Number
Cisco Intrusion Prevention System Advanced Integrated Module for Cisco 1841 and Cisco 2800 and 3800 Series Integrated Services Routers
Cisco Intrusion Prevention System Network Module Enhanced for Cisco 2811, 2821, 2851, 2911, 2921, 2951, 3800 and 3900 Series Integrated Services Routers.
One Cisco IPS AIM or IPS NME is supported per Cisco Integrated Services Router. Table 2 lists the supported router platforms.
Table 2. Supported Router Platforms
Cisco IPS AIM
Cisco IPS NME
Cisco 1841 and 2801
Yes; up to 1 per platform
Cisco 2811, 2821, and 2851
Yes; up to 1 per platform
Cisco 3825 and 3845
Yes; up to 1 per platform
Cisco 2911, 2921, and 2951
Yes (requires adapter card)
Cisco 3925 and 3945
Yes (requires adapter card)
Cisco IOS Software Feature Sets and Release
Table 3 lists the required Cisco IOS feature sets and releases for Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME on the Cisco 1841, 2800 and 3800 series Integrated Services Routers Note that, IPS NME on the Cisco 2900 and 3900 Integrated Services Routers does not require a Security Feature license.
Table 3. Supported Cisco IOS Software Feature Sets for Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME on the Cisco 1841, 2800 and 3800 series Integrated Services Routers
Cisco IOS Software Feature Sets
Cisco IOS Advanced Security
Cisco IOS Advanced IP Services
Cisco IOS Advanced Enterprise Services
Table 4 lists the supported Cisco IOS Software releases.
Table 4. Supported Cisco IOS Software Releases for Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME
Product Part Number
Minimum Cisco IOS Software Release
12.4(22)T on 2800 and 3800 series routers
15.0(1)M on 2900 and 3900 series routers
Cisco IPS Sensor Software and Signature Licenses
Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME run Cisco IPS Sensor Software. Table 5 lists the minimum required releases.
Table 5. Supported Cisco IPS Sensor Software Release for Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME
You must have a valid Cisco Services for IPS service contract per sensor in order to install signature updates on the Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME. The IPS application software enforces the licensing requirement and helps ensure that only sensors covered by an active Cisco Services for IPS support contract process signature updates.
Cisco Services for IPS
Cisco Services for IPS protect and ensure the effectiveness of the Cisco Intrusion Prevention System Advanced Integration Module (AIM) and the Cisco Intrusion Prevention System Network Module Enhanced (IPS NME) by providing frequent threat protection updates and Cisco SMARTnet support in a single comprehensive service offering. Supported by the Cisco Global Security Intelligence organization, Cisco Services for IPS delivers continuously updated, comprehensive, and accurate detection technology to identify and block fast-moving and emerging threats before they damage your network assets.
Cisco Services for IPS provides:
• Up-to-the-minute threat and vulnerability protection through frequent IPS intelligence, signature, and detection engine updates from Cisco Global Security Intelligence Engineering
• Cisco Global Correlation and Reputation filtering that improves the accuracy of threat recognition and blocking, and overall IPS effectiveness
• Access to Cisco IntelliShield Search Access feature for detailed research on the latest threats and vulnerabilities correlated with IPS signatures
• Ongoing Cisco IPS operating system software updates and upgrades for improved security, performance , device management, and investment protection
• Around-the-clock global access to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC)
• Access to the extensive Cisco.com knowledge base and tools
• Advanced hardware replacement ranging from next-business-day parts replacement to around-the-clock, 2-hour parts replacement with on-site field engineering support
Table 8 gives hardware specifications of the Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME.
Table 6. Table 8 Hardware Specifications of Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME
Cisco IPS AIM
Cisco IPS NME
Monitoring and management ports
1 internal Gigabit Ethernet port
1 external Gigabit Ethernet port
Dimensions (H x W x D)
5.25 x 0.95 x 3.25 in.
13.3 x 2.41 x 8.26 cm
7.12 x 6.50 x 1.62 in.
18.1 x 16.5 x 4.1 cm
0.6 lb (0.27 kg)
1.0 lb (0.45 kg)
5 to 95% noncondensing
• 32 to 104°F
• 0 to 40°C
• -40 to 185°F
• -40 to 85°C
• 0 to 10,000 ft
• 0 to 3000m
Regulatory Compliance, Safety, EMC, Telecom, and Network Homologation
When installed in a Cisco 1800 (modular), 2800, 3800, 2900 or 3900 Series Router, the IPS AIM and IPS NME do not change the standards (Regulatory Compliance, Safety, EMC, Telecom, or Network Homologation) of the router itself. Refer to data sheets for the Cisco, 1800 (modular), 2800, 3800 2900 or 3900 Series Routers.
Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME can run up to 45 and 75 Mbps, respectively. Performance varies with the platform under test, traffic profile, and services running concurrently on the platform.
Table 9 gives feature specifications of the Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME.
Table 7. Feature Specifications of Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME
Cisco IPS AIM and IPS NME
Standard monitoring interface
Router internal bus
Standard command and control interface
AIM: Internal Gigabit Ethernet port for in-band management
NME: External Gigabit Ethernet port for out-of-band management
Stateful pattern recognition
Sweeps or floods
Denial-of-service (DoS) mitigation
Worms or viruses
Common gateway interface (CGI) or web attacks
Buffer overflow protection
Remote-procedure call (RPC) attack detection
IP fragmentation attacks
Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) attacks
Simple Message Transfer Protocol (SMTP), Send Mail, Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), or Post Office Protocol (POP) attacks
FTP, SSH, Telnet, and rlogin attacks
Domain Name System (DNS) attacks
Windows or NetBIOS attacks
TCP application protection
Network Timing Protocol (NTP) attacks
Customizable signatures using signature microengine technology
Automated signature updates
Support for 802.1q traffic
IP Security (IPsec) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) between sensor and management console
Encrypted signature packages
SSH for remote administration
Serial Control Protocol (SCP) support for secure file transfer
IP Fragmentation and Reassembly
TCP Stream Reassembly
Router access-control-list (ACL) modifications
Firewall policy modifications
Switch ACL modifications
Session termination with TCP resets
IP session logging or session replay
Customizable script execution
Multiple alarm destinations
Third-party tool integration
IPS active update bulletins
Web user interface (HTTPS)
Command-line interface (CLI; console)
CLI (Telnet or SSH)
CiscoWorks VPN Security Management Solution support
Redundant power supply
Yes, only for Cisco 3845 and 3945
Monitoring link failure detection
Communications failure detection
Services failure detection
Device failure detection
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