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Cisco unveils wireless hardware

The company announces a new line networking products designed to foster better communications with moving targets such as planes, trains, automobiles and ships.

Cisco Systems announced Wednesday a new line of networking products designed to foster better communications with moving targets such as planes, trains, automobiles and ships.

Cisco launched its 3200 Series router during a strategy and product event in New York. The router is designed to easily travel between wireless networks, creating an always-on connection for moving vehicles. The service would allow police departments, for example, to deliver mug shots and fingerprint scans over an Internet Protocol (IP) network.

Wireless networks have become more popular, enabling people with wireless devices to travel freely without worrying about hooking into an Internet connection, similar to the way cell phone users can roam without losing service.

Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik, a supplier of aviation services, are working with Cisco to develop in-flight networking components for airplane cabins.

The new router is 3.5 inches by 3.8 inches and is based on the industry-standard PC/104-PLUS architecture. Cisco said the router supports "any type of standard wireless connection." The routers are immediately available. Prices range from $5,000 to $12,000, depending on configuration.

Cisco also announced a new wireless infrastructure product, the Aironet 1100 Series Access Point. Aironet supports the Wi-Fi, or 802.11b wireless standard, and features an integrated omni-directional antenna and secure mounting system, which allows it to be installed on ceilings, cubicle walls and desktops.

On another front, Cisco also released a set of new hardware, software and provisioning capabilities for its broadband aggregation portfolio designed to boost performance.

Cisco said it has doubled the session capacity of its 7200 and 7400 series routers and has extended the density on its 10000 series router. The new hardware, software and provisioning capabilities for the routers will be available in November.

The new products may open up new markets for Cisco, but analysts remain concerned about the company's prospects. On Wednesday, UBS Warburg analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos lowered first quarter revenue estimates for Cisco, citing weakness in IT spending. He also dropped predictions of Cisco's 2003 revenue growth to only 1 percent, down from his previous growth estimate of 6 percent.

"With telecom carrier (capital spending) expected to decline again next year, and corporate IT spending looking like it will be only flat to slightly up, we are taking a more conservative view on revenue growth for 2003," he wrote in a research note.

In August, Cisco said it expects flat to slight revenue growth in its fiscal first quarter, which ends in October.