News Release

Cisco Leads the Way in Building an Ecosystem for Enterprise Wireless LANs with Launch of Cisco Compatible Extensions Program

Cisco Compatible Extensions Supported by Industry Heavyweights Agere Systems, Atheros, Atmel, HP, IBM, Intel, Intersil, Marvell and Texas Instruments
Feb 24, 2003

SAN JOSE, Calif., February 24, 2003 - Cisco Systems, Inc. today announced a no cost licensing agreement to enable interoperability of third-party client adapters and mobile devices with Cisco Aironet wireless local area network (LAN) infrastructure. This program, referred to as Cisco Compatible Extensions, is available to a select group of strategic silicon suppliers producing both embedded and stand-alone wireless LAN designs. Industry leaders Agere Systems, Atheros, Atmel, Intel, Intersil, Marvell and Texas Instruments together comprise over 90% of wireless LAN designs [1] in the market today ranging from embedded modules in notebook and desktop PCs, PDAs, cellular handsets and industrial terminals to stand-alone products like PC Card, PCI and Compact Flash client adapters.

Cisco Compatibility is assured through independent testing at a designated test lab initiated by the Cisco Compatible Extensions silicon supplier, Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) or PC Original Equpment Manufacturer (OEM) including HP and IBM also announced today. With Cisco Compatible Extensions, customers can deploy their wireless LANs with a variety of "Cisco Compatible" branded client adapters and mobile devices with increased confidence.

"The expanding grass roots demand amongst employees and executives for wireless applications is enabling enterprise IT organizations to become proactive in establishing policies and standards to ensure enterprise class security, management and reliability," said Chris Kozup, senior research analyst from the META Group. "As the number of wireless devices connecting to the network proliferates, enterprise IT organizations are seeking standards-based, interoperable solutions to simplify deployment, management and lower the total cost of ownership."

Through the Cisco Compatible Extensions program, Cisco offers a no cost licensing of innovative Aironet features for integration into client adapters and, ultimately, mobile devices. After extensive interoperability testing with Cisco wireless LAN infrastructure, the adapter or device is granted the right to bear the Cisco Compatible brand signifying that it provides support for the full set of Cisco Compatible Extension features, Cisco Compatible Extensions Version 1 will include:

  • Full standards compliance with Wi-Fi and IEEE 802.11
  • Compliance with Cisco Wireless Security Suite
  • Compatibility with Cisco's scheme for assigning wireless LAN clients to virtual LANs (VLANs)

To drive innovation through pre-standard capabilities while leading emerging industry standards, Cisco will introduce new, expanded versions of Cisco Compatible Extensions on a regular basis. Cisco Compatible Extensions Version 2, which will be released to partners in the next 30-60 days, will include support for:

  • The IEEE 802.1X authentication type PEAP, and compliance with Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) when using various IEEE 802.1X authentication types, including the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) type - Cisco LEAP
  • New Cisco wireless LAN infrastructure capabilities that improve roaming performance and wireless LAN management

"Today we are taking a giant step towards making the Cisco vision of the Wireless Internet real by combining our inherent strengths in wireless product technology and enterprise networking with the affordability and ubiquity of mobile devices available from our industry-leading partners," said Bill Rossi, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Wireless Networking Business Unit. "The result is a wide range of wireless solutions that go a long way to addressing our customers' mobile business application requirements today and a clear roadmap for the future."

Widespread Availability of Cisco Compatible Mobile Devices

With today's Cisco Compatible participants, customers will soon choose from a whole new generation of mobile devices that are designed to offer integrated wireless connectivity, standards-based security support, and interoperability with Cisco Aironet wireless infrastructure.

A Cisco global strategic alliance partner, Intel today announced its expanded relationship and participation in the Cisco Compatible Extensions program. Intel worked closely with Cisco as a lead collaborator in the development of this program. Participants in the program include:

  • Agere Systems - As a long-time standards contributor, Agere is committed to providing interoperable wireless LAN products. Cisco Compatible Extensions will be an important part of Agere's new high-speed, multimode solution allowing seamless roaming and support for 802.11a, b, and g standards.
  • Atheros - Recently Atheros announced its multi-mode (2.4GHz IEEE 802.11b or b/g and 5GHz IEEE 802.11a) wireless LAN technology will be integrated into notebooks from four of the world's top five PC vendors,[2] including HP and IBM. Vendors using Atheros' Cisco Compatible Extensions supported multi-mode designs will be able to ship "Cisco Compatible" platforms that support Cisco Aironet infrastructure beginning in Q2.
  • Atmel - Atmel's commitment to the growth of wireless LAN deployment everywhere is strongly emphasized by our participation and support of the Cisco Compatible Extensions program. Our next generation products to be introduced in Q2/03 will fully support Cisco Compatible Extensions in addition to the IEEE wireless LAN standards for security.
  • HP - HP today strengthens its global strategic alliance with Cisco by endorsing the Cisco Compatible Extensions program as an important element of the HP business notebook and tablet wireless mobility strategy. Future products supporting Cisco Compatible Extensions will include upcoming notebook PCs from HP featuring the Intel CentrinoTM Mobile Technology as well as new notebook and tablet designs supporting an expanded portfolio of integrated wireless devices that deliver secure, high-performance, industry standards based wireless mobility for the enterprise.
  • IBM - IBM, a Cisco global strategic alliance partner, will be working with our technology partners to provide Cisco Compatible solutions on our ThinkPad Family of notebook computers as we move forward in 2003. IBM will continue to offer integrated Cisco Aironet technology on select models of X, T and R series ThinkPad Notebooks.
  • Intel - IntelĀ® CentrinoTM Mobile Technology will plan to incorporate Cisco Compatibility for next generation notebook PCs. Details and availability are expected to be outlined at the time of the Intel CentrinoTM Mobile Technology launch.
  • Intersil - Intersil has been working closely with Cisco on the implementation of the Cisco Compatible Extensions program and will be applying it on Intersil's PRISM GTTM (802.11g) and PRISM DuetteTM (802.11a/b/g) dual-band wireless LAN solutions. This program will enable Intersil's feature-rich, high speed, wireless LAN solutions for the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums to fully utilize and interoperate with Cisco Aironet infrastructure.
  • Texas Instruments - Texas Instruments has closely teamed with Cisco on its program and is currently working with leading OEMs to provide Cisco Compatible Extensions to the embedded mobile, small/medium enterprise and PC market spaces.

"With our shared commitment to the growth of enterprise wireless LANs, Intel is excited to be the lead collaborator of the Cisco Compatible Extensions program," said Jim A. Johnson, vice president and general manager of Intel Corporation, Network Platform Group. "By Intel teaming with Cisco, the enterprise market will benefit from trusted end-to-end solutions from the leaders in enterprise and client wireless LAN technologies."

"We plan to offer Cisco Compatible Extensions in IBM's ThinkPad line of notebook computers, complementing today's integrated Cisco Aironet offerings and furthering IBM's broad range of wireless solutions," said Peter Hortensius, general manager of Think Offerings in IBM's Personal Computing Division. "As the leaders in wireless computing, IBM and Cisco offer the most secure wireless access with the greatest freedom of choice. As part of our global strategic alliance, IBM and Cisco are committed to delivering end-to-end e-business solutions to customers around the world."

The Cisco Compatible brand will be jointly promoted by Cisco and its partners. Cisco Compatible products will also be highlighted on the Web site as they become available in the market.