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New Cisco Routers Carry Hidden Baggage

To get the full functionality of the new 1800, 2800 and 3800 series routers, users must embrace a raft of other Cisco networking technologies.

Anyone who has dealt with these architectures and frameworks knows that each is evolving quickly--and generally requires an all-Cisco infrastructure. Although some of the "all-in-one" features in these new routers may truly work out of the box, others may require the user to migrate connected components to Cisco before the integrated services can be fully implemented.

At $1,400 to $6,500, the low price point of the 1800, 2800 and 3800 routers--combined with new high-speed ASIC-based processing power--may be enough to get many tire-kickers to hitch a ride, regardless of any integrated features. But if you're expecting to buy the new boxes and rock 'n' roll with the integrated apps, you may be disappointed. Cisco's claims of fast ROI and low TCO on the new devices may be overstated for organizations that don't have a Cisco environment to support them.

As SWAN, AVVID, Self-Defending Networks and other Cisco strategies become more widely implemented, integrated access routers like the 1800, 2800 and 3800 just might prove to be strong plug-and-play devices for small and midsize networks. In the near term, however, each box should carry a label, "More Cisco May Be Required."

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