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Cisco Broadens VPN Solutions Portfolio

As part of its Virtual Private Network (VPN) initiative, networking giant Cisco Systems, Inc. added enhancements this week to its existing VPN offerings that enable the deployment of Internet Protocol (IP) voice and video over IPSec VPNs.

As part of its new portfolio, and available on all Cisco VPN routers, San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco unveiled a new IP voice/video-centric Quality of Service (QoS) designed for interoperability with IPSec, IPSec multicast support, and IP voice/video stream encryption.

VPNs are deployed on a public network infrastructure that use encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the network. IPSec is a set of protocols that support the secure exchange of packets for VPNs.

Customers deploying IP telephony and video over an IPSec VPN need an interoperable infrastructure to support the secure delivery of quality IP voice and video services. Cisco's new solution is built to provide reliable connectivity for service providers looking to extend a networks' reach to remote sites for the delivery of added services such as video conferencing in a secure environment that can be accessed by only a designated group of users.

"Cisco is committed to providing customers with converged solutions that securely deliver resources to the extended enterprise network," said Richard Palmer, vice president and general manager of the Cisco VPN and Security Services unit. "This announcement is the first step in providing customers with comprehensive IP voice and video solutions and associated VPN deployment models that increase employee productivity and provide overall cost savings."

Cisco's new solution is officially available today on all Cisco IOS VPN routers including the 1700, 2600, 3600, 3700, 7100, and 7200 series. According to Cisco, its new solution will also reduce telephony, bandwidth, and infrastructure costs.

"The deployment of business-critical applications, such as IP voice, across a VPN network requires a secure and reliable supporting infrastructure," said Kevin O'Kane, chief executive officer of Lexent, a provider of specialized electrical services in metropolitan markets. "Cisco delivers cost-effective, robust VPN and security solutions that enable the rapid deployment of these new services to our geographically dispersed locations."

Cisco also announced VPN support on the Cisco 7400 router, a router package that offers WAN-edge VPN connectivity and integrates the Cisco IOS router with hardware-based VPN acceleration.