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Cisco has set up The Cisco Business Communications Solution, a one-stop networking shop for small and medium-sized firms.

The "Solution" bundles products, services, support and financing options for firms with between 20 - 250 workers, long a stronghold of competitors such as 3Com. Pricing details were not available at the time of writing.

The Cisco Business Communications Solution features the new SMB-class Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Series switching family, a cut-down version of Cisco's flagship Catalyst LAN switch, and additions to Cisco's IP Communications portfolio, including new applications and an expanded line of XML-enabled IP phones. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Series switch comes in a range of four sizes able to support anything from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet.

The switch range works with Cisco's existing Integrated Services Routers running new versions of Cisco CallManager Express and Cisco Unity Express software to provide an integrated communications package. Cisco CallManager Express 3.3 features embedded 'MeetMe' conferencing for 20 to 96 users as well as improved call routing and queuing capabilities. Cisco Unity Express 2.2 offers new auto attendant integration among other improvements.

With channel partners in mind, Cisco is introducing an improved range of tools and programs. The tools include the Cisco IP Communications Express Quick Configuration Tool to speed the configuration and deployment of a fully-converged small office networks. Remote monitoring and reporting tools will make it easier for resellers to keep an eye on customer's networks. Simple quotation and ordering bundles are designed to simplify the sales process. Leasing options for the kit will be available in many parts of the world. ®

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