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Cisco Refreshes Switch and Router Lines

Cisco has been busy lately, wedging itself into new markets, such as energy management and integrated network, server, and data storage devices. Yet, the company has not pushed its bread and butter, switches and routers, completely to the backburner. In fact, the vendor made a broad suite of enhancements to those devices under its Borderless Network initiative.Announced in October 2009, the Cisco program is designed to simplify network deployments and ongoing maintenance. As part of the initiative, the company introduced two new fixed-switching product lines: the Cisco Catalyst 3560/3750-X Series and Catalyst 2960-S Series. The devices support 10G bps Ethernet switching, PoE+ features, and a smart uplink module. Also with Ciscos StackPower feature, one power supply can be shared among four switches. If a power failure occurs, energy is maintained for business-critical applications while it is taken away from lower-priority devices as defined by the customer.

The company also made a few improvements to its routers. The vendor tripled the performance of the Cisco Integrated Services Router G2 3900 E-Series router. The Cisco ASR 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers Software Release 6 features improved security, unified communications, and management capabilities.

Ciscos EnergyWise Orchestrator was enhanced, so it now manages PCs and laptops as well as network devices. By delivering the EnergyWise Software Developer Kit, Cisco enabled third-party developers to incorporate EnergyWise support in their products.

Cisco TrustSec features identity and policy management to ensure that only authorized users access company resources. The Catalyst 3560/3750-X Series support 802.1a/e MACsec standards, which protect sensitive data from eavesdropping by encrypting data flowing between the switch and the client. The companys Medianet technology detects video endpoints and allocates network bandwidth so there are minimal interruptions.

The Behemoth has been a primary network equipment supplier to many small and medium businesses. The new fixed switching lines, which have starting prices from $2,000 to $5,000 for 24 port devices, could garner these companies attention. Consolidation has been occurring in the network equipment marketplace. Competitors have been trying to gain mass through acquisitions and mergers. Cisco has clearly established itself as the market leader. These new features will continue to pressure competitors who will continue to ferret out weaknesses (perhaps, the companys traditional high pricing) in Ciscos offerings.