Cisco brings converged VLANs to branch offices

Cisco Systems Inc. this week at the NetWorld+Interop trade show unveiled an access router aimed at bringing VPN security and IP (Internet protocol) voice support to small businesses and branch offices.

The Cisco 1751 Modular Access Router could help integrate users in a branch office into an enterprise with virtual LAN technology. The router would also allow users to add the same firewall and VPN capabilities found in stand-alone appliances without adding more boxes to a network.

With support for 802.1Q VLAN tagging, end users in a branch office can be added to a VLAN group that is based primarily in an enterprise's headquarters. With three slots for adding voice and WAN interface cards (VIC and WIC) the router can be expanded to support different WAN interfaces, such as DSL or T-1, and analog or digital voice ports. The router supports all the same VIC and WIC add-ons as the Cisco 2600 and 3600 routers.

The router also runs Cisco's IOS software, which allows VPN, firewall and intrusion-detection capabilities to be added to the box. Up to 100 simultaneous IPSec or Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol VPN tunnels can be run through the box at T-1 speed.

"You could have four or five network appliances in a rack doing all the same functions as the 1751," says Joe Ammirato, a Cisco marketing director, "but that would be hard to manage and more expensive." Ammirato says management for all functions in the box can be done through IOS.

The router will be available in the US after May 21, and costs US$1,500 for the standard version. The Cisco 1751-V, which has more memory for supporting voice, will cost $2,500.