The San Jose, Calif.-based equipment manufacturer announced its Business Communications Solution, which includes 12 new products and 10 upgrades to existing products, last month. The product set includes the Catalyst Express 500 Series of switches, designed for voice and data networks, with both Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet ports.“It’s got more than you would see in a typical Layer 2 managed switch at this end of the market, particularly in terms of the security and the overall monitoring tools,” said Peter Alexander, Cisco’s vice-president of commercial marketing.
For example, he said, the switch supports power over Ethernet, which lets companies run electrical power over the Ethernet cables, rather than having to run separate electrical cables.
“While it’s not necessarily leading-edge technology, it’s new technology to this market segment,” said Alan Freedman, research manager of infrastructure hardware at IDC Canada.
Cisco says its Network Assistant 3.0 makes the products easier to configure using a graphical user interface.
“The configuration of this is only through graphical user interface,” Alexander said. “It does not support command line interface because it’s aimed at the SMB market, where you wouldn’t have (Cisco-Certified Internetwork Experts) who would know how to configure using the CLI.”
Alexander said Network Assistant 3.0 “helps you do small scale” network management, and includes “smart ports” that let network administrators use the GUI to configure quality of service and other features on the switch.
Cisco is also shipping three IP phones with Extensible Markup Language (XML) software: the 7941G, 7961G and the 7985G, a desktop video phone. The 7985G includes a camera, liquid crystal display (LCD) screen, speaker, keypad and handset. It also includes five video control buttons.

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