Two representatives from Cisco Systems have, for the first time, attended a meeting of vendors and service providers brought together by rival Juniper Networks to push for a secure and profitable public IP network.
Cisco sent Monique Morrow, a consulting engineer, and Suraj Shetty, director of marketing for Cisco's routing technology group, as observers to the Juniper-organszed Infranet Initiative Council meeting held in Paris during the MPLS World Congress '05 conference.
Cisco was there to try to push the council's efforts more towards the standards organisations, a Cisco spokesman said.
"Our goal there was to encourage the council to take its work to the standards bodies, which Cisco feels is the best way to advance these types of activities," the spokesperson said. "Monique and Suraj were there merely to observe the proceedings. We have no plans to join the IIC." Morrow and Shetty were not immediately available to comment.
The IIC was formed a year ago to unite the industry around a common vision for public networking that attempts to resolve some shortcomings the vendor says are inherent in the Internet.
Juniper is proposing the definition of two interfaces - a user-to-network interface between customers and service providers, and a so-called inter-carrier interface between service providers - that will facilitate the construction of an "infranet" combining the ubiquitous connectivity of the Internet with the predictable performance and security of a private network.
The IIC hopes that this infranet will ultimately provide the global infrastructure required to support machine-to-machine grid computing, unlock the full potential of Web-enabled applications and finally usher in the era of the online economy.
Some observers have prodded Cisco into joining the IIC for the good of the industry, while others maintain it is a Juniper marketing tactic intended to alienate its rival.
Cisco has maintained that IIC activities are best left to standards bodies such as ITU-T, ATIS and ETSI.
These currently addressed many of the multi-SP networking ideas associated with Infranet, the Cisco spokesperson said.
"Cisco has made contributions for Multi-SP networking in study group 13 of ITU-T," the spokesperson said. "Juniper is a member of ITU-T, and we welcome the IIC to join us in working this initiative."
But the IIC, which invites companies to attend a segment of IIC meetings as observers, had a counteroffer.
"We had several observing companies attend our meeting at Supercomm, and the majority became members," an IIC spokesperson said. "The IIC is excited that Cisco attended in Paris as an observer, and their further involvement would be in the best interest of communications."
The meeting in Paris was the first IIC gathering of the year.
Members discussed further composition development and planning around IIC use cases, the IIC spokesperson said.
IIC membership now stands at 35 with another eight about to join, the IIC spokesperson said.