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Cisco readies support for new Web standard

Cisco Systems will supply telecommunications service providers and businesses with software that will increase the number of devices that can connect to the Web.

Cisco Systems early next year will supply telecommunications service providers and businesses with software that will support a new standard that will increase the number of devices that can connect to the Web.

Like other technology companies and network equipment makers, Cisco has spent the last few years working to support a new standard for assigning Internet Protocol (IP) numbers, which all devices need to hook into the Net.

The new IP standard, called Internet Protocol version 6, is expected to affect every Net user once the technology is widely adopted in the coming years. The new standard was developed in response to the dwindling number of available IP numbers as cell phones and other devices became more popular.

Proponents say the standard will increase the pool of numbers, much like the way adding new area codes increases the amount of phone numbers available. Telecommunications services and businesses are expected in the next few years to start supporting the new standard in their networks.

Cisco, which has been building support for the new protocol in its Internetworking Operating System (IOS) software, announced this week that it has created a test version of the new software for its high-end routing device, technology that service providers use to send data over the Net at high speeds.

Cisco's IOS software runs the company's networking equipment.

The company had previously released support for the new standard in test versions of its IOS software for the rest of its product family, said Martin McNealis, Cisco's director of IP product management.

Cisco expects to ship final versions of its IOS software--with support for the new standard--in March or April of next year, McNealis said.