Cisco Builds Out Intelligent Information Networks Strategy

As part of its Intelligent Information Networks initiative, Cisco is embedding more functionality, such as security, IP telephony and content caching, into its routers and switches.

"Security is perhaps the most important subject on our customers' minds," said Charles Giancarlo, senior vice president and general manager of switching, voice and storage at Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

Cisco is preparing to add a new vendor partner to its Network Admission Control program, though the company is not yet naming names.

Cisco has already teamed with several security vendors to create technology that prevents infected devices from accessing the network. Current program partners include Network Associates, Symantec and Trend Micro.

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Giancarlo also said Cisco's sales of Gigabit Ethernet technology are on the rise, accounting for more than 25 percent of Cisco's overall port sales on modular switches, he said.

"Gigabit is really starting to happen. It's being taken on by our customers," Giancarlo said.

Similarly, Power over Ethernet technology is also becoming popular, particularly with the rise of IP telephony and converged communication, he said, noting that 25 percent of its line card sales were powered.

Cisco currently has about 15,000 enterprise voice customers and has sold 2.5 million IP phones.

As a result of its recent acquisition of conferencing vendor Latitude Communications, maker of MeetingPlace, Cisco is preparing to port a user interface for conferencing technology to its IP phones that would enable customers to set up, monitor and manage conference calls, he said.

Cisco is also creating technology that will help solution providers target the SMB market, said Mike Volpi, senior vice president and general manager of the routing technology group at Cisco.

The vendor has already introduced CallManager Express, a scaled-down version of its CallManager call processing software, as a software option across several of its access router lines. Volpi said Cisco is now starting to integrate other technology, such as wireless, storage and advanced security features, into its access routers.

The SMB market represents an opportunity that Cisco views as largely untapped, Volpi said.

"A lot of the economic growth is happening from the SMB market," he said.