Like many technology companies, Cisco has spent the past three years working to support a new standard for assigning IP (Internet Protocol) numbers, which all devices need to hook into the Net.
The new IP standard, called Internet Protocol version 6, is expected to affect every Net user once the technology is widely adopted in the next few years. The new standard was created because the quantity of available IP numbers was declining as cell phones and other devices became more popular.
For Cisco, support for the standard is vital because the company is the dominant network equipment player in the routing of information through IP. The company is building it into an operating system that runs within the company's network equipment.
Proponents say the standard will increase the amount of numbers, much like the way adding new area codes increases the amount of phone numbers available. Telecommunications services and businesses are expected in the next few years to start supporting the new standard in their networks.
Cisco has built support for the new standard in its Internetworking Operating System software. Cisco is also providing training courses and consulting services for customers who plan to use the new protocol.
The software supporting the new standard will be available by the end of May, company representatives said. Cisco previously shipped test versions of the software that supports the new protocol.