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Cisco switches for small business

Cisco introduces a new switch for small businesses and makes an equity investment in a Internet messaging software firm.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) introduced a new switch for small businesses to its portfolio and made an equity investment in a Internet messaging software firm today.

The new Catalyst 1912 is targeted at small workgroups and businesses that need Ethernet-based connections. The 1912, part of Cisco's NetBeyond family of products, includes 12 Ethernet ports with a Fast Ethernet uplink for a server or backbone network connection.

The new hardware includes support for Cisco Internetworking Operating System (IOS) software and CiscoWorks Windows network management software application. A port for a remote monitoring probe is also included in the box. The new switch is available this month for $2,495.

The new model is the latest announcement among many in what has quickly become a cutthroat market in low-end, Ethernet-based switches.

Separately, the multibillion networking giant added an equity stake in Software.com--an Internet infrastructure software firm based in Santa Barbara, California--to a growing list of small firms that have received financial aid from Cisco Systems. The companies did not disclose the size of Cisco's stake.

The two companies plan to jointly develop directory software and network services that can feed into Cisco's IOS. Points of focus for the two companies include remote access, telecommuting, Internet commerce, and electronic mail.