Cisco is releasing a new series of low-cost products that are a hybrid of switches, routers and wireless access points. The new Cisco 870 series integrated services router merges a Cisco IOS (Internetworking Operating System) router, an IOS switch, and an Aironet based IOS access point into a single product with a single operating system. The product boasts a VLAN (Virtual LAN) capable 4-port switch, a stateful inspection firewall with intrusion prevention capability, IPSEC VPN, and an Aironet 802.11b/g access point with a built-in RADIUS server and multiple VLAN/SSID virtual radio support. A secure wired/wireless LAN along with an insecure but isolated guest wired/wireless LAN can be achieved with this single device.
Buyers should be aware that the built-in RADIUS server only supports proprietary EAP protocols LEAP and EAP-TLS and would require the use of Cisco Aironet client adapters or CCX (Cisco Certified Extensions) certified client adapters. Support for standard EAP types such as PEAP or EAP-TLS would require the use of an external RADIUS server.
Although switches, routers and access points are a stronghold for Cisco in the big corporate IT world, they were somewhat alien to small businesses because of cost and complexity. This new line of products is an attempt from Cisco to address these issues by offering a simpler web-based setup and a price tag that's more suitable to small business budgets. Network jocks in the corporate world will feel right at home with the merged IOS CLI (Command Line Interface) and will find the 870 series an excellent fit for remote satellite offices due to its wide ranging capabilities and low cost. The retail price for the model 871 with 802.11b/g is around $500 and replaces three separate Cisco devices that would have retailed for more than double that price.