Optical/IP Networks

Cisco Fights Terror

10:20 AM -- Usually, I'm not the type of person who gets bent out of shape by blatant, crass commercialism. I live in New Jersey, after all. But there's something about Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) product placements on the Fox show 24 that's starting to get annoying. Cisco publicizes these product placements with clips on its Website.

Now, bear in mind, 24 is not exactly a hotbed of realism. The plot has the daughter of the Secretary of Defense involved with a torture-addicted counter-terrorisum unit (CTU) agent who ends up befriending her husband by sticking a live 240-volt wire in his ear (and then later killing him). And then there's the terrorists, who, like evil modern-day radical Islamic McGuyvers, manage to reprogram a long-range nuclear ballistic missle with a hobby kit. Apparently Radio Shack was offered that product placement but declined.

But never mind all that. How about that Cisco firewall? When the terrorist try to hack the CTU network, a Cisco firewall stops them (and tells everybody watching the show). I haven't yet been briefed on the new anti-terrorist-hacker module, but apparently it's all in the Cisco-powered network (for more chat on this, see Digital Spy). Last night we were shown a glimpse of Cisco IP phones, which are apparently the tool of choice for counter-terrorism agents. I wonder whether off-the-shelf Cisco IP phones are really the best choice for the nation's terrorism fighting outfit. Well, Cisco and 24 say so, so I guess it's real -- if your vision of reality is Fox TV.

— R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading

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