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Cisco beats holiday rush

Cisco launches two new lines of remote access routing equipment and a new release of its IOS internetworking operating system.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) today announced a new set of products for local area networks that address high-performance network connectivity and secure Internet access.

As previously reported by CNET, the NetBeyond system of hubs, switches, and routers fills out Cisco's product line for small businesses, letting customers mix and match products and technologies as their networks evolve.

Cisco is trying to make it as easy as possible for customers to buy their products and put them into use in a secure way while maintaining flexibility for technology advancements in their networks and wide area network connections.

The NetBeyond product launch includes:
--the previously announced FastHub 300 series of Ethernet and Fast Ethernet gear.
--the EtherSwitch 1220 and 1420, which offer 24 ports of Fast Ethernet switching connectivity for LANs. Also comes in modular configurations with FDDI and Fast Ethernet uplinks.
--the Cisco 3600 series, a line of remote access routers that can connect a LAN to a WAN or a remote user to a LAN. The products combine WAN connectivity with remote access in one box.
--the Cisco 1600 series, which offers Internet and intranet access through a secure router for small and medium-sized businesses. Customers have their choice of wide area network connections: frame relay, ISDN, leased lines, or X.25. Models include one Ethernet port and one WAN port. The series also includes Quality of Service (QoS) support by including security protocols.

All of these products work with existing Cisco gear, such as the Cisco 200 remote node products.

The introduction is geared toward connected branch offices to central sites. Along with the hardware, version 11.2 of IOS--Cisco's internetworking software--will include increased support for multimedia applications, Quality of Service (QoS) enhancements, and increased security, such as routing encryption and firewall capabilities.

The EtherSwitches will be available next month, with prices starting at $129 per port. FDDI and Fast Ethernet modules for the EtherSwitch 1420 are available now. The Cisco 3620 is available now with prices starting at $2,900. The 3640 is available now with prices starting at $6,500.The 1600 series is available now for $1,495.