Stac subsidiary Hi/fn is set to introduce a low cost coprocessor chip next week, which will improve network performance and links between Microsoft NT and Cisco technologies.
According to US reports, the Hi/fn 9711 chip is only one of a number of joint initiatives planned by Cisco and Microsoft. They are working on a joint tunnelling technology as well as a scalable version of the lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP).
The unified approach to tunnelling, called the Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP), is set to be incorporated in the next version of Windows NT and will combine Cisco Layer 2 Forwarding as well as Microsoft?s own Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol.
According to the same reports, the Stac chip will support Microsoft?s point to point compression (MPPC) software, included in Windows NT. The trade-off between Cisco and Microsoft is that the networking giant will also adopt MPPC.
The 9711 coprocessor is set to appear in Ascend?s Wan hardware and kit from Cisco including routers. That will allow tunnelling from either an ISP, a server, a client or a carrier network. It will have MPPC built in and saves CPUs from handling bandwidth crunching.
The technology is also likely to appear on network interface cards in the future and Hi/fn is understood to be in discussions with a number of other networking vendors including 3Com.
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