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Cisco is introducing a major refresh of its security product portfolio, adding new features to safeguard IP telephony.

The new PIX 506E and 515E firewall platforms increase traffic throughput by a factor of two and a half, according to Cisco's internal tests. Select PIX 515E firewall models now come with an integrated hardware-based VPN acceleration, offloading work from the devices central processor.

There's also an update of the PIX operating system to version 6.2, featuring tighter integration with Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) making firewalls and VPNs easier to administer.

PIX version 6.2 also introduces Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and multimedia support providing what Cisco describes as "defence in depth" to securing converged voice and data networks. New features include Port Address Translation (PAT) services for Session Initiative Protocol (SIP) and H.323v2 protocols, and the addition of a protocol called stub multicast routing, which is designed to make multicasting more secure.

The Cisco PIX 506E and 515E Firewalls are available immediately starting at $1,695 and $3,495 respectively, with Cisco PIX OS version 6.2 will be available within this quarter. Cisco PIX is a widely deployed firewall platform, counting as the second most common firewall product behind Check Point's FireWall-1, according to security testing specialists NTA Monitor. ®

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