News Release

Cisco Initiative Encourages New Categories of Internet Devices

Cisco NetWorks Program Provides Software, Certification, Branding
Apr 28, 1998

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- April 28, 1998 -- Cisco Systems, Inc. today announced a technology-licensing program intended to accelerate the availability of low-cost, easy-to-use Internet access devices. These new devices will accelerate the deployment of residential network services and solutions from Internet service providers. The Cisco NetWorks program includes the licensing of software to manufacturers of network access products such as Internet phones and fax machines, cable modems, set-top boxes and network computers.

The Cisco NetWorks program will extend Cisco's expertise in standards-based internetworking, which traditionally has been focused on large and medium-sized businesses and service providers, to the home and small-office markets.

The initial licensees in the program are Sony Corp. and Samsung Corp. Both plan to show cable modems at the National Cable TV Association industry show in Atlanta, May 3-6.

The program includes the licensing of Cisco NetWorks software to manufacturers of network access devices such as Internet phones and fax machines, cable modems, set-top boxes and residential gateways. Licensees will incorporate proven Cisco networking technology into their products, as well as specific product-enabling technologies. Additionally, licensees' products will display the Cisco NetWorks logo which will ensure consumers and service providers that certified products are capable of delivering reliable and interoperable connectivity and network services.

The Cisco NetWorks program has three elements:

  • A product development kit providing licensed use of Cisco NetWorks software, as well as specific product-enabling technologies that allow product developers to quickly build network devices that can access existing and future services over the Internet using the popular Internet Protocol (IP). The kit also includes support from Cisco to companies in developing their products.
  • A certification program to verify that a device using Cisco NetWorks software delivers the promised functionality and is fully interoperable with an end-to-end Cisco network, as well as standards-based heterogeneous networks.
  • A program that provides a Cisco NetWorks mark for use on certified products and in associated promotional materials.

The Cisco NetWorks software includes an enhanced TCP/IP stack, the essential building block for any device that wants to tap an IP network; and a portfolio of network service technologies to allow products to incorporate essential security, management and quality of service (QoS)/multimedia capabilities. The application-specific technologies included in the Cisco NetWorks software address the needs of a specific device to incorporate IP voice, fax and multimedia services.

The primary advantage to product developers of joining the Cisco NetWorks Program is their access to Cisco's innovative standards-based networking technologies and expertise, which will accelerate the time to market of a licensee's product. Customers who buy new network access devices based on Cisco's NetWorks software will be assured that these devices will operate on any IP network, and will take advantage of future generations of enhanced network services.

Network access devices are special-purpose devices designed for simple and reliable operation in an IP network environment. They accomplish their tasks (for example, accessing the World Wide Web, making a voice call, sending an e-mail message) by virtue of their connection to an IP network. A simple network connection is an essential ingredient of the device - as important as its user interface or application software. Equally important is the ongoing availability of innovative technologies to support the evolution of network access devices as new network services are deployed.

The category of consumer network access devices is just emerging, and Cisco anticipates that many types of devices will be produced by scores of manufacturers. One goal of the Cisco NetWorks program is to avoid the slow market adoption that can occur when consumers are not assured that a device will interoperate with other devices or across any network. Examples of network access devices include:

  • home devices such as set-top boxes, cable modems, residential gateways and game devices;
  • office equipment such as IP fax machines, IP telephones, multifunction devices and videoconferencing systems;
  • commercial devices such as utility meters, environmental control and security systems and retail point-of-sale systems;
  • PDAs and handheld devices

"Samsung is pleased to be among the first adopters of the Cisco NetWorks Program," said David Lin, director of product management and business development, Samsung Information Systems America. "As a worldwide consumer electronics leader, Samsung wants to work closely with other leaders in the industry, and Cisco is among them."

"The coming new generation of high-bandwidth consumer devices - like Sony's new cable modems - make possible a wide range of exciting new services for consumers," said Dick Komiyama, President of Sony Electronics' Computer Components and Peripherals Group. "The assurance of interoperability offered by the Cisco NetWorks Program will accelerate consumer demand for these products."

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.

Cisco, Cisco Systems and the Cisco Systems logo are registered trademarks of Cisco Systems, Inc. in the U.S. and certain other countries. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners.