Cisco Adds Voice, Security To Routers

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Cisco channel partners, given an early peek last week at the company's plans, said the vendor's new Integrated Services Routers, which include integrated voice, video and security features, should help them and the vendor grow their SMB business.

"At the price points they're talking about, it seems to provide enterprise capabilities to a whole new marketplace--the midmarket and SMBs," said Jere Brown, senior vice president of North American sales at Dimension Data, a solution provider in Reston, Va.

Cisco also is updating its popular back-end rebate Value Incentive Program to include the new routers, offering rebates of up to 10 percent on base chassis sales.

"This is a big differentiator for Cisco as well as a big differentiator for our partners because it affords them an opportunity to have a type of technology or type of offering that is not available in the market today," said Edison Peres, vice president of advanced and core technologies for worldwide channels at Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

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The new 1800, 2800 and 3800 Series routers provide performance and memory improvements over their predecessors, as well as the ability to run multiple, concurrent services at wire speed. VPN services are built in. Optional services include Cisco's Call Manager Express (VoIP), Unity Express (voice mail), firewall and Network Address Translation.

The new router line should help fill price gaps in Cisco's current router family, said Garth Brown, president and COO of Semaphore, a Seattle-based solution provider.

"Between the 2600 Series and the higher-end routers, you couldn't get into some of the services without taking a major price jump," Brown said.

For example, the entry point for a Cisco router running multiple services such as voice and security has dropped to $2,000, down from $10,000, Cisco said. Cisco's Integrated Services Routers are slated to begin shipping this month starting at $1,395.