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Giving Cisco credit where credit is due

This past week was a busy one for Cisco Systems Inc. The networking giant found itself in an unusual position: playing catch up with its competitors. Oddly enough, in this case, that's a good thing.

Cisco released several updated and new product lines that incorporate the IEEE's 802.3af power over Ethernet (PoE) standard. PoE is important for several reasons, most notably because it makes VoIP implementations easier. Phones and other network devices can receive power via the network, which can help enterprises save time and money, since only one cable is needed for each device, and it also eliminates the need to have a wall outlet near every network device.

However, several of the company's competitors -- including Nortel Networks Inc., Foundry Networks Inc. and Extreme Networks Inc. -- had already released switch lines supporting 802.3af. Why did Cisco wait so long? Primarily because it needed more time to ensure all of its new products are backward-compatible with its proprietary technology.

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Though Cisco took a chance by letting its rivals gain a first-mover position, it deserves credit for not only going the extra mile for its existing customers, but also for carefully laying the groundwork for the next generation of Gigabit Ethernet 802.3af-compliant devices. Suddenly, for a lot of shops, the decision to upgrade probably just got a lot easier.

Is Cisco on the right track, or is its strategy insignificant in the greater scheme of things? We want to know what you think, so don't be shy. To read more the latest announcements by Cisco and other key vendors, visit our News Page. Thanks for reading our e-newsletters and for visiting Have a great week!

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