Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in San Jose, California, in the center of Silicon Valley. Cisco develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products.[3] Through its numerous acquired subsidiaries, such as OpenDNS, WebEx, Jabber and Jasper, Cisco specializes into specific tech markets, such as Internet of Things (IoT), domain security and energy management.

Cisco stock was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average on June 8, 2009, and is also included in the S&P 500 Index, the Russell 1000 Index, NASDAQ-100 Index and the Russell 1000 Growth Stock Index.[4]

Cisco Systems was founded in December 1984 by Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, two Stanford University computer scientists. They pioneered the concept of a local area network (LAN) being used to connect geographically disparate computers over a multiprotocol router system. By the time the company went public in 1990, Cisco had a market capitalization of $224 million. By the end of the dot-com bubble in the year 2000, Cisco had a more than $500 billion market capitalization.[5]

Cisco Systems, Inc.
Traded as
IndustryNetworking hardware & software
FoundedDecember 10, 1984 in San Francisco, California, United States
United States[1]
Area served
Key people
ProductsList of Cisco products
  • Increase US$12.77 billion (2018)[2]
  • Decrease US$110 million (2018)[2]
Total assets
  • Decrease US$108.78 billion (2018)[2]
Total equity
  • Decrease US$43.20 billion (2018)[2]
Number of employees
74,200 (2018)[2]
SubsidiariesList of acquisitions by Cisco Systems


1984–1995: Origins and initial growth

Cisco Advanced Gateway Server (AGS) router (1986) - Computer History Museum
Cisco's first router, the Advanced Gateway Server (AGS) router (1986)

Cisco Systems was founded in December 1984 by Sandy Lerner, a director of computer facilities for the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Lerner partnered with her husband, Leonard Bosack, who was in charge of the Stanford University computer science department's computers.[6]

Cisco's initial product has roots in Stanford University's campus technology. In the early 1980's students and staff at Stanford; including Bosack, used technology on the campus to link all of the school's computer systems to talk to one another, creating a box that functioned as a multiprotocol router called the "Blue Box."[7] The Blue Box used software that was originally written at Stanford by research engineer William Yeager.[7]

In 1985, Bosack and Stanford employee Kirk Lougheed began a project to formally network Stanford's campus.[7] They adapted Yeager's software into what became the foundation for Cisco IOS, despite Yeager's claims that he had been denied permission to sell the Blue Box commercially. On July 11, 1986, Bosack and Lougheed were forced to resign from Stanford and the university contemplated filing criminal complaints against Cisco and its founders for the theft of its software, hardware designs, and other intellectual properties.[7] In 1987, Stanford licensed the router software and two computer boards to Cisco.[7] In addition to Bosack, Lerner, Lougheed, Greg Satz( a programmer), and Richard Troiano(who handled sales), completed the early Cisco team.[7] The company's first CEO was Bill Graves, who held the position from 1987 to 1988.[8] In 1988, John Morgridge was appointed CEO.[9]

The name "Cisco" was derived from the city name San Francisco, which is why the company's engineers insisted on using the lower case "cisco" in its early years. The logo is intended to depict the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.[10]

On February 16, 1990, Cisco Systems went public with a market capitalization of $224 million, and was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. On August 28, 1990, Lerner was fired. Upon hearing the news, her husband Bosack resigned in protest. The couple walked away from Cisco with $170 million, 70% of which was committed to their own charity.[11]

Although Cisco was not the first company to develop and sell dedicated network nodes,[12] it was one of the first to sell commercially successful routers supporting multiple network protocols.[13] Classical, CPU-based architecture of early Cisco devices coupled with flexibility of operating system IOS allowed for keeping up with evolving technology needs by means of frequent software upgrades. Some popular models of that time (such as Cisco 2500) managed to stay in production for almost a decade virtually unchanged. The company was quick to capture the emerging service provider environment, entering the SP market with product lines such as Cisco 7000 and Cisco 8500.

Between 1992 and 1994, Cisco acquired several companies in Ethernet switching, such as Kalpana,[14] Grand Junction[15] and most notably, Mario Mazzola's Crescendo Communications,[16] which together formed the Catalyst business unit. At the time, the company envisioned layer 3 routing and layer 2 (Ethernet, Token Ring) switching as complementary functions of different intelligence and architecture—the former was slow and complex, the latter was fast but simple. This philosophy dominated the company's product lines throughout the 1990s.

In 1995, John Morgridge was succeeded by John Chambers.[17]

In 2007, 2 key executives Giancarlo (Executive VP & Chief Development Officer) and Mike Volpi (Head of Cisco's Routing & Service Technology Group) left Cisco Systems. [18]

1996–2005: Internet and silicon intelligence

John T. Chambers - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2010
John T. Chambers led Cisco as its CEO between 1995 and 2015. (Pictured at 2010 World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland).

The Internet Protocol (IP) became widely adopted in the mid-to-late 1990s. Cisco introduced products ranging from modem access shelves (AS5200) to core GSR routers, making them a major player in the market. In late March 2000, at the height of the dot-com bubble, Cisco became the most valuable company in the world, with a market capitalization of more than $500 billion.[5][19] As of July 2014, with a market cap of about US$129 billion,[20] it was still one of the most valuable companies.[21]

The perceived complexity of programming routing functions in silicon led to the formation of several startups determined to find new ways to process IP and MPLS packets entirely in hardware and blur boundaries between routing and switching. One of them, Juniper Networks, shipped their first product in 1999 and by 2000 chipped away about 30% from Cisco SP Market share. In response, Cisco later developed homegrown ASICs and fast processing cards for GSR routers and Catalyst 6500 switches. In 2004, Cisco also started migration to new high-end hardware CRS-1 and software architecture IOS-XR.[22]

2006–2012: The Human Network

Dmitry Medvedev in the United States 23 June 2010-2.jpeg
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at Cisco, 2010.[23]

As part of a rebranding campaign in 2006, Cisco Systems adopted the shortened name "Cisco" and created "The Human Network" advertising campaign.[24] These efforts were meant to make Cisco a "household" brand—a strategy designed to support the low-end Linksys products and future consumer products.

On the more traditional business side, Cisco continued to develop its routing, switching and security portfolio. The quickly growing importance of Ethernet also influenced the company's product lines. Limits of IOS and aging Crescendo architecture also forced Cisco to look at merchant silicon in the carrier Ethernet segment. This resulted in a new ASR9000 product family intended to consolidate the company's carrier ethernet and subscriber management business around EZChip-based hardware and IOS-XR.

Throughout the mid-2000s, Cisco also built a significant presence in India, establishing its Globalization Centre East in Bangalore for $1 billion.[25] Cisco also expanded into new markets by acquisition—one example being a 2009 purchase of mobile specialist Starent Networks.[26]

Cisco continued to be challenged by both domestic Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks and overseas competitors Huawei. Due to lower-than-expected profit in 2011, Cisco reduced annual expenses by $1 billion. The company cut around 3,000 employees with an early-retirement program who accepted buyout and planned to eliminate as many as 10,000 jobs (around 14 percent of the 73,400 total employees before curtailment).[27][28] During the 2011 analyst call, Cisco's CEO John Chambers called out several competitors by name,[29] including Juniper and HP.

On July 24, 2012, Cisco received approval from the EU to acquire NDS (a TV software developer) for US$5 billion.[30] In 2013, Cisco sold its Linksys home-router unit to Belkin International Inc., signaling a shift to sales to businesses rather than consumers.[31]

Present day

Cavaco na California
Former Portuguese President Cavaco Silva, former Cisco CEO John Chambers and Cisco Senior Director of Innovation Helder Antunes, during the 2011 presidential visit to the US.

On July 23, 2013, Cisco Systems announced a definitive agreement to acquire Sourcefire for $2.7 billion.[32] On August 14, 2013, Cisco Systems announced it would cut 4,000 jobs from its workforce, which was roughly 6%, starting in 2014.[33] At the end of 2013, Cisco announced poor revenue due to depressed sales in emerging markets, caused by economic uncertainty and by fears of the National Security Agency planting backdoors in its products.[34]

In April 2014, Cisco announced funding for early-stage firms to focus on the Internet of Things. The investment fund was allocated to investments in IoT accelerators and startups such as The Alchemist Accelerator, Ayla Networks and EVRYTHNG.[35] Later that year, the company announced it was laying off another 6,000 workers or 8% of its global workforce, as part of a second restructuring.[36] On November 4, 2014, Cisco announced an investment in Stratoscale.[37]

On May 4, 2015, Cisco announced CEO and Chairman John Chambers would step down as CEO on July 26, 2015, but remain chairman. Chuck Robbins, senior vice president of worldwide sales & operations and 17-year Cisco veteran, was announced as the next CEO.[38] On July 23, 2015, Cisco announced the divesture of its television set-top-box and cable modem business to Technicolor SA for $600 million, a division originally formed by Cisco's $6.9 billion purchase of Scientific Atlanta. The deal came as part of Cisco's gradual exit from the consumer market, and as part of an effort by Cisco's new leadership to focus on cloud-based products in enterprise segments. Cisco indicated that it would still collaborate with Technicolor on video products.[39] On November 19, 2015, Cisco, alongside ARM Holdings, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Princeton University, founded the OpenFog Consortium, to promote interests and development in fog computing.[40]

In January 2016, Cisco invested in VeloCloud, a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) start-up with a cloud offering for configuring and optimizing branch office networks. Cisco contributed to VeloCloud's $27 million Series C round, led by March Capital Partners.[41]

In February 2017, Cisco launched a cloud-based secure internet gateway, called Cisco Umbrella, to provide safe internet access to users who don't use their corporate networks or VPNs to connect to remote data centers.[42] Immediately after reporting their fourth quarter earnings for 2017, Cisco's price-per-share value jumped by over 7%, while its Earnings per share Ratio increased from 60 to 61 cents per share, due in part to Cisco's outperformance of analyst expectations.[43] In September 2017, Chambers announced that he would step down from the executive chairman role at the end of his term on the board in December 2017.[44] On December 11, 2017, Robbins was elected to succeed Chambers as executive chairman while retaining his role as CEO, and Chambers was given the title of "Chairman Emeritus."[45][46]

Reuters reported that "Cisco Systems Inc’s (CSCO.O) product revenue in Russia grew 20 percent in 2017, ahead of Cisco’s technology product revenue growth in the other so-called BRIC countries of Brazil, China and India."[47][48]

On May 1, 2018, Cisco Systems agreed to buy AI-driven business intelligence startup Accompany for $270 million.[49][50] As of June 2018, Cisco Systems ranked 444th on Forbes Global 2000 list, with $221.3 billion market cap.[51]


For the fiscal year 2017, Cisco reported earnings of US$0.1 billion, with an annual revenue of US$49.3 billion, an increase of 2.8% over the previous fiscal cycle. Cisco's shares traded at over $43 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at US$213.2 billion in September 2018. Low Net Income for fiscal year 2018 was attributed to a one time tax charge, that allowed Cisco to bring back capital from overseas. Cisco used this money it was able to bring back at a lower tax rate to fund share buybacks and acquisitions.

Year Revenue
in mil. USD$
Net income
in mil. USD$
Total Assets
in mil. USD$
Price per Share
in USD$
2000[52] 18,928 2,668 32,870 48.87
2001[52] 22,293 −1,014 35,238 16.69
2002[52] 18,915 1,893 37,795 11.80
2003[53] 18,878 3,578 37,107 14.38
2004[53] 22,045 4,401 35,594 17.44
2005[53] 24,801 5,741 33,883 14.67
2006[54] 28,484 5,580 43,315 17.45 49,930
2007[55] 34,922 7,333 53,340 23.07 61,560
2008[56] 39,540 8,052 58,734 18.15 66,130
2009[57] 36,117 6,134 68,128 16.14 65,550
2010[58] 40,040 7,767 81,130 18.74 70,700
2011[59] 43,218 6,490 87,095 14.10 71,830
2012[60] 46,061 8,041 91,759 15.34 66,640
2013[61] 48,607 9,983 101,191 19.20 75,049
2014[62] 47,142 7,853 105,070 21.22 74,042
2015[63] 49,161 8,981 113,373 25.09 71,833
2016[64] 49,247 10,739 121,652 26.83 73,700
2017[65] 48,005 9,609 129,818 31.97 72,900
2018[66] 49,330 110 108,784 43.65 74,200

Corporate structure

CloudLock Logo, 2015
CloudLock, a Cisco cloud computing security subsidiary.

Acquisitions and subsidiaries

Cisco acquired a variety of companies to spin products and talent into the company. In 1995–1996 the company completed 11 acquisitions.[67] Several acquisitions, such as Stratacom, were the biggest deals in the industry when they occurred.[68] During the Internet boom in 1999, the company acquired Cerent Corporation, a start-up company located in Petaluma, California, for about US$7 billion.[69] It was the most expensive acquisition made by Cisco to that date, and only the acquisition of Scientific Atlanta has been larger.[70] In 1999 Cisco also acquired stake for $1 Billion in KPMG Consulting to enable establishing Internet firm Metrius founded by Keyur Patel of Fuse.[71] Several acquired companies have grown into $1Bn+ business units for Cisco, including LAN switching, Enterprise Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) platform Webex and home networking. The latter came as result of Cisco acquiring Linksys in 2003 and in 2010 was supplemented with new product line dubbed Cisco Valet.

Cisco announced on January 12, 2005, that it would acquire Airespace for US$450 million to reinforce the wireless controller product lines.[72]

Cisco announced on January 4, 2007, that it would buy IronPort in a deal valued at US$830 million[73][74]and completed the acquisition on June 25, 2007.[75] IronPort was best known for its IronPort AntiSpam, its SenderBase email reputation service and its email security appliances. Accordingly, IronPort was integrated into the Cisco Security business unit.[76]Ironport's Senderbase was renamed as Sensorbase to take account of the input into this database that other Cisco devices provide. SensorBase allows these devices to build a risk profile on IP addresses, therefore allowing risk profiles to be dynamically created on http sites and SMTP email sources.[77]

Cisco announced on March 15, 2012, that it would acquire NDS Group for $5bn.[78][79] The transaction was completed on July 30, 2012.[80]

In more recent merger deals, Cisco bought Starent Networks (a mobile packet core company) and Moto Development Group, a product design consulting firm that helped develop Cisco's Flip video camera.[81][82] Also in 2010, Cisco became a key stakeholder in e-Skills Week. In March 2011, Cisco completed the acquisition of privately held network configuration and change management software company Pari Networks.[83]

Although many buy-ins (such as Crescendo Networks in 1993, Tandberg in 2010) resulted in acquisition of flagship technology to Cisco, many others have failed—partially or completely.[84] For instance, in 2010 Cisco occupied a meaningful share of the packet-optical market,[85] revenues were still not on par with US$7 billion price tag paid in 1999 for Cerent. Some of acquired technologies (such as Flip from Pure Digital) saw their product lines terminated.[86][87]

Cisco campuses in (top to bottom) Bangalore, India, Munich, Germany and Oslo, Norway.

Cisco Systems Bangalore (23235912040)
CISCO in Munich Airport Business Park
Philip Pedersens vei 1 - 2012-03-11 at 13-44-57

January 2013, Cisco Systems acquired Israeli software maker Intucell for around $475 million in cash, a move to expand its mobile network management offerings.[88][89] In the same month, Cisco Systems acquired Cognitive Security, a company focused on Cyber Threat Protection. Cisco also acquired SolveDirect (cloud services) in March 2013[90] and Ubiquisys (mobile software) in April 2013.

Cisco acquired cyber-security firm Sourcefire, in October 2013.[91] On June 16, 2014, Cisco announced that it has completed the acquisition of ThreatGRID, a company that provided dynamic malware analysis and threat intelligence technology.[92]

June 17, 2014, Cisco announced its intent to acquire privately held Tail-f Systems, a leader in multi-vendor network service orchestration solutions for traditional and virtualized networks.[93]

April 2, 2015, Cisco announced plans to buy Embrane, a software-defined networking startup. The deal will give Cisco Embrane's software platform, which provides layer 3–7 network services for things such as firewalls, VPN termination, server load balancers and SSL offload.[94]

May 7, 2015 Cisco announced plans to buy Tropo, a cloud API platform that simplifies the addition of real-time communications and collaboration capabilities within applications.[95]

June 30, 2015, Cisco acquired privately held OpenDNS, the company best known for its DNS service that adds a level of security by monitoring domain name requests.[96]

August 6, 2015, Cisco announced that it has completed the acquisition of privately held MaintenanceNet, the US-based company best known for its cloud-based contract management platform ServiceExchange.[97] On the same month, Cisco acquired Pawaa, a privately held company in Bangalore, India that provides secure on-premises and cloud-based file-sharing software.[98]

September 30, 2015, Cisco announced its intent to acquire privately held Portcullis Computer Security, a UK-based company that provides cybersecurity services to enterprise clients and the government sectors.[99]

October 26, 2015, Cisco announced its intent to acquire ParStream, a privately held company based in Cologne, Germany, that provides an analytics database that allows companies to analyze large amounts of data and store it in near real time anywhere in the network.[100]

October 27, 2015, Cisco announced that it would acquire Lancope, a company that focuses on detecting threat activity, for $452.5 million in a cash-and-equity deal.[101]

June 28, 2016, Cisco announced its intent to acquire CloudLock, a privately held cloud security company founded in 2011 by three Israeli military veterans,[102] for $293 million.[103] The deal was expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

In August 2016, Cisco announced it is getting closer to making a deal to acquire Springpath, the startup whose technology is used in Cisco's HyperFlex Systems. Cisco already owns an undisclosed stake in the hyper-converged provider.[104]

January 2017, Cisco announced they would acquire AppDynamics, a company that monitors application performance, for $3.7 billion. The acquisition came just one day before AppDynamics was set to IPO.[105]

January 26, 2017, Cisco founded the Innovation Alliance in Germany with eleven other companies bringing together 40 sites and 2,000 staff to provide small businesses in Germany with expertise.[106]

August 1, 2017 Cisco completed the acquisition of Viptela Inc. for $610 million in cash and assumed equity awards[107]. Viptela is a privately held software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) company based in San Jose, Ca.

October 23, 2017 Cisco Systems announced it would be acquiring Broadsoft for $1.9 Billion to further entrench itself in the cloud communication and collaboration area.[108]


As of 2017 Cisco Systems shares are mainly held by institutional investors (Vanguard group, BlackRock, State Street Corporation and others[109])

Products and services

Cisco SG300-28 Rackmount switch (top) and Cisco EPC-3010 modem (bottom).

Cisco small business SG300-28 28-port Gigabit Ethernet rackmount switch
Cisco Model EPC3010

Cisco's products and services focus upon three market segments—enterprise and service provider, small business and the home.

Cisco has grown increasingly popular in the Asia-Pacific region over the last three decades and is the dominant vendor in the Australian market with leadership across all market segments. It uses its Australian office as one of the main headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region, offering a diverse product portfolio for long-term[110] stability, and integration is a sustainable competitive advantage.

VoIP services

Cisco became a major provider of Voice over IP to enterprises and is now moving into the home user market through its acquisitions of Scientific Atlanta and Linksys. Scientific Atlanta provides VoIP equipment to cable service providers such as Time Warner, Cablevision, Rogers Communications, UPC and others; Linksys has partnered with companies such as Skype, Microsoft and Yahoo! to integrate consumer VoIP services with wireless and cordless phones.

Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS)

Cisco partners can offer cloud-based services based on Cisco's virtualized Unified Computing System (UCS). A part of the Cisco Unified Services Delivery Solution that includes hosted versions of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM), Cisco Unified Contact Center, Cisco Unified Mobility, Cisco Unified Presence, Cisco Unity Connection (unified messaging) and Cisco Webex Meeting Center.[111]

Network Emergency Response

Cisco 8851
A Cisco 8851 IP Phone

As part of its Tactical Operations initiative, Cisco maintains several Network Emergency Response Vehicles (NERV)s.[112] The vehicles are maintained and deployed by Cisco employees during natural disasters and other public crises. The vehicles are self-contained and provide wired and wireless services including voice and radio interoperability, voice over IP, network-based video surveillance and secured high-definition video-conferencing for leaders and first responders in crisis areas with up to 3 Mbit/s of bandwidth (up and down) via a 1.8-meter satellite antenna.[113]

NERVs are based at Cisco headquarters sites in San Jose, California and at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, allowing strategic deployment in North America. They can become fully operational within 15 minutes of arrival. High-capacity diesel fuel-tanks allow the largest vehicles to run for up to 72 hours continuously.[114] The NERV has been deployed to incidents such as the October 2007 California wildfires; hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Katrina; the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, tornado outbreaks in North Carolina and Alabama in 2011; and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.[115][116]

The Tactical Operations team maintains and deploys smaller, more portable communication kits to emergencies outside of North America. In 2010, the team deployed to assist in earthquake recovery in Haiti and in Christchurch (New Zealand). In 2011, they deployed to flooding in Brazil, as well as in response to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.[112][117]

In 2011, Cisco received the Innovation Preparedness award from the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter for its development and use of these vehicles in disasters.[118]


Cisco Systems also sponsors a line of IT professional certifications for Cisco products.[119] There are four or five(path to network designers) levels of certification: Entry (CCENT), Associate (CCNA/CCDA), Professional (CCNP/CCDP), Expert (CCIE/CCDE) and recently Architect(CCAr: CCDE previous),[120] as well as nine different paths, Routing & Switching, Design, Industrial Network, Network Security, Service Provider, Service Provider Operations, Storage Networking, Voice, Datacenter and Wireless.

A number of specialist technician, sales and datacenter certifications are also available.

Cisco also provides training for these certifications via a portal called the Cisco Networking Academy. Qualifying schools can become members of the Cisco Networking Academy and then provide CCNA level or other level courses. Cisco Academy Instructors must be CCNA certified to be a CCAI certified instructor.

Cisco often finds itself involved with technical education. With over 10,000 partnerships in over 65 countries[121] Cisco Academy program operates in many exotic locations. For example, in March 2013, Cisco announced its interest in Myanmar by investing in two Cisco Networking Academies in Yangon and Mandalay and a channel partner network.[122]

Corporate affairs

Awards and accolades

US Embassy Tel Aviv - ACE 3
In 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton awarded Cisco the Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence, which was presented in Jerusalem by Ambassador James B. Cunningham to Cisco Senior Manager Zika Abzuk.

Cisco products, including IP phones and Telepresence, have been seen in movies and TV series.[123] The company was featured in the documentary film Something Ventured which premiered in 2011.[124]

Cisco was a 2002–03 recipient of the Ron Brown Award,[125][126] a U.S. presidential honor to recognize companies "for the exemplary quality of their relationships with employees and communities". Cisco has been included as part of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For", ranking No. 20 in 2011.[127]

According to a report by technology consulting firm LexInnova, Cisco was one of the leading recipients of network security-related patents with the largest portfolio within other companies (6,442 security-related patents) in 2015.[128]


Cisco Networkers 2007 - Anaheim
Cisco Live 2007 in Anaheim, California. Cisco Live is the company's annual exposition and conference.

Shareholder relations

A class action lawsuit filed on April 20, 2001, accused Cisco of making misleading statements that "were relied on by purchasers of Cisco stock" and of insider trading.[129] While Cisco denied all allegations in the suit, on August 18, 2006, Cisco's liability insurers, its directors and officers paid the plaintiffs US$91.75 million to settle the suit.[130]

Intellectual property disputes

On December 11, 2008, the Free Software Foundation filed suit against Cisco regarding Cisco's failure to comply with the GPL and LGPL license models and make the applicable source code publicly available.[131] On May 20, 2009, Cisco settled this lawsuit by complying with FSF licensing terms and making a monetary contribution to the FSF.[132]

Censorship in China

Cisco has been criticized for its involvement in censorship in the People's Republic of China.[133] According to author Ethan Gutmann, Cisco and other telecommunications equipment providers supplied the Chinese government with surveillance and Internet infrastructure equipment that is used to block Internet websites and track online activities in China.[134] Cisco has stated that it does not customize or develop specialized or unique filtering capabilities to enable governments to block access to information and that it sells the same equipment in China as it sells worldwide.[135]

Wired News had uncovered a leaked, confidential Cisco PowerPoint presentation that detailed the commercial opportunities of the Golden Shield Project of Internet control.[136] In May 2011, a group of Falun Gong practitioners filed a lawsuit under the Alien Tort Statute alleging that Cisco knowingly developed and customized its product to assist the Chinese government in prosecution and abuse of Falun Gong practitioners.[137] The lawsuit was dismissed in September 2014[138] by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, which decision was appealed to United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit[139] in September 2015.

Tax fraud investigation

In October 2007, employees of Cisco's Brazilian unit were arrested on charges that they had imported equipment without paying import duties. In response, Cisco stated that they do not import directly into Brazil, and instead use middlemen.[140][141]

Antitrust lawsuit

On December 1, 2008, Multiven filed an antitrust lawsuit[148] against Cisco Systems, Inc. Multiven's complaint alleges that Cisco harmed Multiven and consumers by bundling and tying bug fixes/patches and updates for its operating system software to its maintenance services (SMARTnet). In May 2010, Cisco accused the person who filed the antitrust suit, British-Nigerian technology entrepreneur Peter Alfred-Adekeye, with hacking and pressured the US government to extradite him from Canada. Cisco settled the antitrust lawsuit two months after Alfred-Adekeye's arrest by making its software updates available to all Multiven customers.[149][150][151]

Remotely monitoring users' connections

Cisco's Linksys E2700, E3500, E4500 devices have been reported to be remotely updated to a firmware version that forces users to register for a cloud service, allows Cisco to monitor their network use and ultimately shut down the cloud service account and thus render the affected router unusable.[152][153]

Firewall backdoor developed by NSA

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel the NSA has developed JETPLOW for gaining access to ASA (series 5505, 5510, 5520, 5540 and 5550) and 500-series PIX Firewalls.[154]

Cisco's Chief Security Officer addressed the allegations publicly and denied working with any government to weaken Cisco products for exploitation or to implement security back doors.[155]

A document included in the trove of National Security Agency files released with Glenn Greenwald's book No Place to Hide details how the agency's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit and other NSA employees intercept servers, routers and other network gear being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert firmware onto them before they’re delivered. These Trojan horse systems were described by an NSA manager as being “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they pre-position access points into hard target networks around the world.”[156]

Cisco denied the allegations in a customer document[157] saying that no information was included about specific Cisco products, supply chain intervention or implant techniques, or new security vulnerabilities. Cisco's general counsel also claimed that Cisco does not work with any government, including the United States Government, to weaken its products.[158] The allegations are reported to have prompted the company's CEO to express concern to the President of the United States.[159]

Spherix patent suit

In March 2014 Cisco Systems was sued for patent infringement. Spherix asserts that over $43 billion of Cisco's sales infringe on old Nortel patents owned by Spherix. Officials with Spherix are claiming that a wide range of Cisco products, from switches to routers, infringe on 11 former Nortel patents that the company now owns.[160]

Outsourcing and training in Palestinian Territories

In January 2008, Cisco announced an investment of $10 million over three years towards job creation and technology sector development in the Palestinian Territories. According to Cisco, this project was in cooperation with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.[161] Ramallah-based Exalt Technologies handles the software development that Cisco outsources to the Palestinian Territories.[162]

See also


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Further reading

  • Bunnell, D. & Brate, A. (2001). Die Cisco Story (in German). Moderne Industrie. ISBN 3-478-35995-3.
  • Bunnell, D. (2000). Making the Cisco Connection: The Story Behind the Real Internet Superpower. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-35711-1.
  • Paulson, E. (2001). Inside Cisco: The Real Story of Sustained M&A Growth. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-41425-5.
  • Slater, R. (2003). The Eye of the Storm: How John Chambers Steered Cisco Through the Technology Collapse. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-018887-1.
  • Stauffer, D. (2001). Nothing but Net Business the Cisco Way. Wiley. ISBN 1-84112-087-1.
  • Waters, J. K. (2002). John Chambers and the Cisco Way: Navigating Through Volatility. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-00833-8.
  • Young, J. S. (2001). Cisco Unauthorized: Inside the High-Stakes Race to Own the Future. Prima Lifestyles. ISBN 0-7615-2775-3.

External links

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AppDynamics is an application performance management (APM) and IT operations analytics (ITOA) company based in San Francisco. The company focuses on managing the performance and availability of applications across cloud computing environments as well as inside the data center. In March 2017, AppDynamics was acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion.


CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) is an information technology (IT) certification from Cisco Systems.

CCNA certification is an associate-level Cisco Career certification.

The Cisco exams have changed several times in response to the changing IT trends. In 2013, Cisco announced an update to its certification program that "aligns certification and training curricula with evolving industry job roles." There are now several different types of Cisco-Certified Network Associate, with "CCNA Routing and Switching" being closest to the original CCNA focus; other types of CCNA focus on security, cloud, collaboration, security operations, design, data center technologies, industrial plants, service providers, and wireless.The content of the exams is proprietary. Cisco and its learning partners offer a variety of different training methods, including books published by Cisco Press, and online and classroom courses available under the title "Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices".

To achieve CCNA Routing and Switching certification, one must earn a passing score on Cisco exam #200-125, or combined passing scores on both the "Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 1" ICND1 #100-105 and "Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 2" ICND2 #200-105 exams. Passing the ICND1 exam grants the candidate the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification. At the completion of the exam, candidates receive a score report along with a score breakout by exam section and the passing score for the given exam.The 200-125 CCNA is the composite exam associated with the Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing & Switching certification. This exam tests a candidate's knowledge and skills required to install, operate, and troubleshoot a small to medium size enterprise branch network. The topics include connecting to a WAN; implementing network security; network types; network media; routing and switching fundamentals; the TCP/IP and OSI models; IP addressing; WAN technologies; operating and configuring IOS devices; extending switched networks with VLANs; determining IP routes; managing IP traffic with access lists; and establishing point-to-point connections.

Cisco Meraki

Cisco Meraki is a cloud managed IT company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Their solutions include wireless, switching, security, enterprise mobility management (EMM), communications, and security cameras, all centrally managed from the web. Meraki was acquired by Cisco Systems in December 2012.

Cisco Press

Cisco Press is a publishing alliance between Cisco Systems and Pearson, the world's largest education publishing and technology company which is part of Pearson PLC, the global publisher and co-owner (47%) of Penguin and formerly Financial Times. Cisco Press distributes its titles through traditional resellers as well as through the Safari Books Online e-reference service.Cisco Press is the Cisco Systems authorized book publisher of Cisco networking technology, Cisco certification self-study, and Cisco Networking Academy Program materials. Leading authorities from Cisco Systems and other industry innovators write and contribute to the various titles and series that make up the Cisco Press product family. Products from Cisco Press are part of a recommended learning path from Cisco Systems that combines instructor-led training with hands-on instruction, e-learning, and self-study. Created By Bryan Hill.

Cisco Systems VPN Client

Cisco Systems VPN Client is a software application for connecting to virtual private networks based on Internet Key Exchange version 1.

On July 29, 2011, Cisco announced the end of life of the product. No further product updates were released after July 30, 2012, and support ceased in July 29, 2014. The Support page with documentation links was taken down on July 30, 2016, replaced with an Obsolete Status Notification.

Cisco certifications

Cisco Certifications are the list of the Certifications offered by Cisco Systems. There are four or five(path to network designers) levels of certification: Entry (CCENT), Associate (CCNA/CCDA), Professional (CCNP/CCDP), Expert (CCIE/CCDE) and recently Architect (CCAr: CCDE previous), as well as nine different paths for the specific technical field; Routing & Switching, Design, Industrial Network, Network Security, Service Provider, Service Provider Operations, Storage Networking, Voice, Datacenter and Wireless. There are also a number of the specialist technician, sales, Business, data center certifications, CCAI certified instructor (Cisco Academy Instructor).

Etch (protocol)

Etch is an open-source, cross-platform framework for building network services, first announced in May 2008 by Cisco Systems. Etch encompasses a service description language, a compiler, and a number of language bindings. It is intended to supplement SOAP and CORBA as methods of communicating between networked pieces of software, especially where there is an emphasis on portability, transport independence, small size, and high performance. Etch was designed to be incorporated into existing applications and systems, enabling a transition to a service-oriented architecture. It was derived from work on the Cisco Unified Application Environment, the product acquired by Cisco as part of the Metreos acquisition.

Flip Video

The Flip Video cameras are an American series of tapeless camcorders for digital video created by Pure Digital Technologies, a company bought by Cisco Systems in March 2009; variants included the UltraHD, the MinoHD, and the SlideHD. Flip Video cameras were known for their simple interface with few buttons, minimal menus and built in USB plugs (from which they derived the flip name), and were marketed as making video "simple to shoot, simple to share" Production of the line of Flip video cameras ran from 2006 until April 2011, when Cisco Systems discontinued them as part of a move to "...exit aspects of (their) consumer businesses." . Flip cameras contributed to an increase in the popularity of similar pocket camcorders, although the inclusion of HD video cameras in many smartphones has since made them a more niche product.


Immunet is a free, cloud-based, community-driven antivirus application, using the ClamAV and its own engine. The software is complementary with existing antivirus software. On 5 January 2011 it was announced that Immunet had been acquired by Sourcefire.The application is free-of-charge, although a commercial version is available. It claims to be lightweight and provides always up-to-date protection against the threats. Virus signature files are stored in the cloud, not on individual computers, so signature downloads are not required. Once a virus is detected and blocked for one user, all other Immunet users receive the same protection almost instantly. The software is noted for its ability to allow individual users to easily author their own signatures.


IronPort Systems, Inc., headquartered in San Bruno, California, was a company that designed and sold products and services that protect enterprises against internet threats.

IronPort was founded in December 2000, by Scott Banister and Scott Weiss.

It was best known for IronPort AntiSpam, the SenderBase email reputation service, and email security appliances. These appliances ran a modified FreeBSD kernel under the trademark AsyncOS. On November 24, 2003, IronPort acquired the SpamCop filtering and reporting service, which it ran as a stand-alone entity.Cisco Systems announced on January 4, 2007 that it would buy IronPort in a deal valued at US$830 million, and completed the acquisition on June 25, 2007. IronPort was integrated into the Cisco Security business unit.

SenderBase was renamed SensorBase to take account of the input into this database that other Cisco devices provide. SensorBase allows these devices to build a risk profile on IP addresses, therefore allowing risk profiles to be dynamically created on HTTP sites and SMTP email sources.


Linksys is an American company selling data networking hardware products mainly to home users and small businesses. Its products include wired and wireless routers, Ethernet switches, VoIP equipment, wireless Internet video cameras, audio visual products and network storage systems.

Linksys was founded in 1988 by the couple Victor and Janie Tsao, both Taiwanese immigrants to the United States. The company was purchased by Cisco in 2003, and sold to Belkin, the current owners, in 2013. Its products were branded as Linksys by Cisco when it was part of Cisco.

Belkin has kept the Linksys brand and released new products under its name since acquiring it.Linksys products are sold to consumers off-the-shelf from consumer electronics stores, Internet retailers, and big-box retail stores such as supermarkets. Significant competitors in the home and small business networking market segment include D-Link, TP-Link and Netgear.

List of acquisitions by Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems is an American computer networking company. Cisco made its first acquisition in 1993, which was followed by a series of further acquisitions.

Long Reach Ethernet

Long Reach Ethernet (LRE) was a proprietary networking protocol marketed by Cisco Systems, intended to support multi-megabit (5 to 15 Mbit/s) performance over telephone-grade unshielded twisted pair wiring over distances up to 5,000 feet (1.5 km).

Supporting such distance ranges, LRE is technically classified a Metropolitan area network (MAN) technology.

Technically the protocol was similar to very-high-bitrate digital subscriber line (VDSL), practically Ethernet over VDSL (EoVDSL).

The technology was sometimes considered an example of Ethernet in the first mile (EFM).

Several networking vendors offered compatible networking hardware, but the technology became obsolete.

Mark Papermaster

Mark D. Papermaster (born 1961) is an American business executive currently serving as the chief technology officer (CTO) and senior vice president (SVP) for Technology and Engineering at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Papermaster previously worked at IBM from 1982 to 2008, where he was closely involved in the development of PowerPC technology and served two years as vice president of IBM's blade server division. Papermaster's decision to move from IBM to Apple, Inc. in 2008 became central to a court case considering the validity and scope of an employee non-compete clause in the technology industry. He became senior vice president of devices hardware engineering at Apple in 2009, with oversight for devices such as the iPhone. In 2010 he left Apple and joined Cisco Systems as a VP of the company's silicon engineering development. Papermaster joined AMD on October 24, 2011, assuming oversight for all of AMD's technology teams and the creation of all of AMD's products, and AMD's corporate technical direction.


The Internet Video Codec (NETVC) is a standardization project for a royalty-free video codec hosted by the IETF. It is intended to provide a royalty-free alternative to industry standards such as MPEG-4 and HEVC that require licensing payments for many uses.

The group has put together a list of criteria to be met by the new video standard.The October 2015 basic draft requirements for NETVC are support for a bit depth of 8-bits to 10-bits per sample, 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, 4:4:4 YUV, low coding delay capability, feasible real time decoder/encoder software implementations, temporal scalability, and error resilience tools. The October 2015 optional draft requirements for NETVC is support for a bit depth of up to 16-bits per sample, 4:2:2 chroma subsampling, RGB video, auxiliary channel planes, high dynamic range, and parallel processing tools.On March 24, 2015,'s Daala codec was presented to the IETF as a candidate for NETVC. Daala coding techniques have been proposed to the IETF for inclusion into NETVC.On July 22, 2015, Cisco Systems' Thor video codec was presented to the IETF as a candidate for their NETVC video standard. Thor is being developed by Cisco Systems and uses some Cisco elements that are also used by HEVC. The Constrained Low-Pass Filter (CLPF) and motion compensation that are used in Thor were tested with Daala.At the IETF there are now also other partners involved in the development of NETVC.At the IETF meeting 101 in March 2018 xvc was presented by Divideon as another candidate. Thor developer Steinar Midtskogen confirmed that a subset of xvc that Divideon considers royalty-free has better compression than Thor at comparable complexity settings. It was agreed to pause physical meetings of the working group to see how the market for royalty-free video formats develops given that the teams behind several of the format candidates presented instead chose to develop a royalty-free standard in the AOM forum.

Scientific Atlanta

Scientific Atlanta, Inc. is a Georgia, United States-based manufacturer of cable television, telecommunications, and broadband equipment. Scientific Atlanta was founded in 1951 by a group of engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and was purchased by Cisco Systems in 2005 for $6.9 billion after Cisco received anti-trust clearance for the purchase. The Cisco acquisition of Scientific Atlanta was ranked in the top 10 of largest technology acquisitions in history and was Cisco's largest acquisition to date. Prior to the purchase, Scientific Atlanta had been a Fortune 500 company and was one of the top 25 largest corporations in Georgia.Scientific Atlanta was considered by many to be "the patriarch of Atlanta's technology industry for nearly six decades" and is sometimes referred to as "Atlanta's Microsoft or Hewlett Packard". It was considered "core to the development of technology in the Atlanta region" and "was to Atlanta what Hewlett-Packard was to Silicon Valley" because of its legacy of spawning more than 35 substantial companies in the area.


Sourcefire, Inc was a technology company that developed network security hardware and software. The company's Firepower network security appliances are based on Snort, an open-source intrusion detection system (IDS). Sourcefire was acquired by Cisco for $2.7 billion in July 2013.


Tandberg was an electronics manufacturer located in Oslo, Norway (production, sales and distribution) and New York City, United States (sales and distribution). The company began in the radio field, but became more widely known for their reel-to-reel tape recorders and televisions. The original company went bankrupt in 1978 after a sharp financial downturn. The following year, the company re-formed whilst their data division was split off as Tandberg Data, including the tape recording division, which reduced its scope to data recording.

Over time the original Tandberg company became increasingly involved in the teleconferencing systems, and became a leader in that field. The company's main competitor was Polycom and other competitors were HP, Sony, Radvision, VTEL and Aethra.Cisco Systems acquired Tandberg on 19 April 2010. Tandberg Data is now officially a German company, and continues to make computer tape storage systems.


Cisco Webex, formerly WebEx Communications Inc., is a company that provides on-demand collaboration, online meeting, web conferencing and videoconferencing applications. Its products include Meeting Center, Training Center, Event Center, Support Center, Sales Center, MeetMeNow, PCNow, WebEx AIM Pro Business Edition, WebEx WebOffice, and WebEx Connect. All WebEx products are part of the Cisco Systems collaboration portfolio.

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