VANCOUVER — Cisco Systems Inc. plans to add wireless capabilities to its Integrated Services Router (ISR) line of networking products, the company’s chief technology officer told partners.

During a presentation to about 2,000 participants of its partner conference at the Vancouver Convention

Centre, Charlie Giancarlo described the ISR series as an example of a Cisco product line that combines security, voice and caching functions into one router.

Adding wireless capabilities to the ISR series will be a “”slam dunk”” for the San Jose, Calif.-based network equipment manufacturer, said Zeus Kerravala, vice-president for enterprise infrastructure with The Yankee Group, a Boston-based market research firm.

“”There’s no reason to not do it,”” Kerravala said during an interview, adding he predicts Cisco may also add Wide Area File Services (WAFS) technology — which is designed to reduce the amount of time it takes to access and save files over wide-area networks — to the ISR routers.

The ISR series is aimed at small to mid-sized firms, and at large enterprises operating branch offices. Cisco officials would not say when the company plans to launch a wireless version of ISR or what the product will be named, nor would they release other details.

Targetting small and mid-sized firms

The ISR family includes the 1841 Router, aimed at small- to mid-sized organizations, which has intrusion prevention, firewall and virtual private networking capability; the 2800 series, which supports both security functions and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and targets mid-sized businesses; and the 3800 series, which supports security, VoIP and power over Ethernet.

Since it was launched last fall, the ISR series has accounted for about 60 per cent of Cisco’s edge router sales, Cisco Canada’s vice-president for channel operations, Steve Simmons, said.

“”With ISR, it’s the fastest ramp-up of any product we’ve ever had,”” said John Chambers, Cisco’s president and chief executive officer, who made his remarks during during the conference’s general session.

Chambers said a big question for Cisco and its partners is how to design voice, video and data networking products tailored to the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) market, which for Cisco is growing faster than the enterprise and service provider markets.

He said vendors need to sell products designed to solve business problems for specific industries — such as retail and health care — rather than products designed only with a function in mind, such as storage, security or wireless.

One example in the medical field would be any application designed for a single electronic patient record, which Chambers said would help cut health-care costs and reduce the risk of a patient having a bad reaction to a prescribed drug.

The focus on solutions makes sense, because “”the technology doesn’t sell itself anymore,”” said Marc Thomas, president of Miami-based VoiceRite Inc., which was exhibiting its Extensible Markup Language (XML) software for IP telephony.

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