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Optical/IP

LR Poll: Cisco Likely to Make VOIP Buy

Nobody knows what 's next acquisition might be, but readers think the company has its eye on VOIP, according to a recent Light Reading poll.

In a dramatic shift of opinion, the poll closed yesterday with 32 percent of the 579 votes saying Cisco's acquisition focus -- if it's not security -- will be in softswitches. Session border controllers, another VOIP-related category, took second place at 21 percent.

XML/Web services landed in a distant third with 8 percent.

Early poll results favored the nebulous "Other" category (see Poll: Cisco's Next Move?). But softswitches pulled a Giacomo-like surge to take the victory.

The category of security was excluded from the question, as it seems obvious Cisco will be dogging the security market for some time. But 48 percent of the respondents said Cisco's next acquisition is not likely to be a security company, with only 36 percent still thinking security a good bet -- a reversal of the initial returns.

A VOIP acquisition certainly would be possible, considering the wealth of startups in the area and the fact that Cisco was pitching and even using the technology before the current wave of VOIP interest.

A session border controller, in particular, would give Cisco a response to Juniper Networks Inc.'s (Nasdaq: JNPR) recent pickup of Kagoor Networks. Possibilities in this area include , , , Newport Networks Ltd. (London: NNG), and (see Juniper to Acquire Kagoor and Session Controllers Stir IPO Interest).

Softswitches are a less clear-cut area, as Cisco seems content to resell Class 5 softswitches from Ericsson and Italtel (see Cisco, Ericsson Join Forces). But should Cisco go softswitch shopping, the candidate list would include Cedar Point Communications Inc., , NetCentrex again, Nuera Communications Inc., Open Telecommunications, , and

Web services, XML, and related language processing are areas worth watching despite a third-place finish. Cisco took an enthusiastic plunge into this area with its Application Oriented Networking (AON) technology released last month and seems interested in developing more of these capabilities (see Cisco Speaks Applications).

Cisco isn't providing any answers from the back of the book, as a spokesman says the company can't comment on specifics of its acquisition strategy.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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