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Cisco rolls out virtual office'

Melissa Chua | Sept. 12, 2008
The new product family is meant for mobile workers, said company officials.

SINGAPORE, 11 SEPTEMBER 2008 Networking solutions provider Cisco has unveiled a product set targeted at helping enterprises improve the user experience of its mobile workers. The set, dubbed virtual office', consists of the new Cisco 881w Internet services router, Cisco 7970G IP phone with colour display and Cisco 7200 series router.

According to Cisco executives, employees working from home need only connect the 881w Internet services router to their existing cable of DSL modem, in order to get connected directly to the IT infrastructure at their organisation's headquarters. Minimal user configuration is required they said at the launch event held in Singapore on September 10 as the router will automatically download a predefined configuration that syncs with headquarters. Calls to a worker's office line would also automatically be routed to the IP phone.

The setup, complete with IP phone plugged into the router, seeks to replicate the office experience, said Calvin Chai,senior marketing manager, security solutions, Cisco.

Split tunnelling technology

Chai also claimed the Internet experience of other users in the mobile worker's home would not be affected after the 881w is plugged in, thanks to split tunnelling technology, which ensures only the employee's Internet traffic gets routed via VPN to headquarters. Traffic from other users on the home network would flow through their regular channels.

A Cisco 7200 series router will handle VPN networking, encryption and security over at a company's headquarters.

The virtual office package is estimated to cost US$700 (S$1,007.59) per user, based on a 300 user deployment. The package will be distributed through Cisco's partners, including key network and service providers across the region. Tom Cheong, managing director, Singapore and Brunei, Cisco, hinted that some non-traditional modes of distribution, such as trade-ups for existing Cisco customers, might also be made available.


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