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Cisco details routing upgrades

Seeking to shore up the commodity-oriented side of its routing hardware business, Cisco outlines a series of new technology enhancements.

Seeking to shore up the commodity-oriented side of its routing hardware business, Cisco Systems wrapped a series of new technology enhancements today in the cloak of versatility.

The networking giant--looking to increase the options for users of its modular routing devices--added support for local networking types such as token ring and more access options using both analog and digital technology.

The move comes not long after the company pledged to ready its 2600 and 3600 line for use in rollouts of consolidated voice, video, and data based enterprise corporate networking schemes. The 2600, in particular, is generally used as a connection point from a remote office to a central corporate site--a primary target market for a "converged" network that supports multiple data types.

"Cisco needed to increase the value proposition of its access router products, since competition in this space is commodity driven and price sensitive," according to a report from market watcher Current Analysis authored by analyst Ron Westfall.

3Com, Ascend Communications, and Bay Networks are among Cisco's rivals in this area.

Cisco executives said the additions to the 2600 and 3600 product lines make the devices a suitable means to provide traditional data routing, or to integrate voice and add remote access for users. "We're lowering the networking life-cycle costs to the customer," claimed Bob Beliles, product manager for the 2600 routing line.

The company rolled out new modules for the 2600 and 3600 line that support analog modems, from 8 to 48 ports of density, with prices starting at $400 per port. Also unveiled are eight new 3600 modules, starting at $4,450, that combine analog access ports with high-speed ISDN support, as well as ISDN capabilities for the 2600 line.

A new 2612 model in Cisco's low-end wide area routing line combines support for token ring and Ethernet in one device along with interfaces for the Net. The move is likely to aid user migration in remote office networks from older token ring networking technology to Ethernet, the dominant means to tie PCs and servers together.

A new 2613 model offers token ring connections only. Both models are priced under $3,000.

The new 2600 and 3600 technology is available now, save for a series of mixed-media modules for the 3600, due next month.