Ipsilon products to support Cisco's router protocol

In an escalation of the market battle between Ipsilon Networks' Internet Protocol switching technology and router leader Cisco Systems Inc. Ipsilon officials said last week they now support Cisco's router protocol.

Larry Blair vice president of marketing at Ipsilon said last week that the new capability commercially available by the end of the year will allow users to integrate Ipsilon's products into networks that use Cisco's popular router technology which potentially could cut into Cisco's overwhelming market share. Support for Cisco's Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (IGRP) will be available commercially by the end of the year.

IP switching has been marketed as an alternative to routing that can combine IP software with Asynchronous Transfer Mode hardware for high performance at a fraction of the cost of routers.

Blair said his company developed IGRP support without assistance from or negotiations with Cisco. "This is some good old-fashioned reverse engineering going on here " Blair said.

Consultant Noel Lindsay a director at DMG Technology Group Menlo Park Calif. said the announcement could open up traditionally closed Cisco networks.

"If Ipsilon can really do this Cisco can no longer say `If you want to continue using IGRP you have to buy our stuff ' " Lindsay said.

A Cisco spokesman said the company was aware of Ipsilon's announcement but had no immediate reaction. "IGRP is a Cisco-patented technology " the spokesman said. "But until we can look at exactly what they've implemented we can't say yet what our next step will be.

"In principle we are not adverse to licensing Cisco technologies to both partners and competitors but it needs to be done in a formal manner " the spokesman added.

Kalyan Kidambi a task leader at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt Md. said he plans to test Ipsilon products within the next few weeks.

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