Year in review: Networking gets secure
Source: - Posted by Vincenzo Ciaglia   
Network Security Juniper Networks got the ball rolling in February with the $4 billion acquisition of NetScreen Technologies, which specialized in virtual private network and firewall technology. In July, Microsoft and Cisco Systems began butting heads on security. Each announced plans to develop a comprehensive security architecture that would not only scan for viruses but also police networks to deny connections to machines that don't conform with security policies.

Cisco had introduced Network Admission Control (NAC) in 2003, but began delivering the first element of the architecture in its routers in early summer. Then in July, Microsoft launched its architecture, Network Access Protection (NAP). Initially, the two solutions weren't interoperable. By October, the two said they would team up to make sure their solutions were interoperable. More announcements are expected on this in 2005.

Juniper's acquisition of NetScreen expanded the company's business into the enterprise market for the first time, putting it in even closer competition with Cisco. During the summer, both companies launched new routers for the enterprise, each claiming to pack more security features.

Things also heated up in the core IP router market. In May, Cisco announced its next-generation router, the CRS-1, which uses new software. Juniper, which has been shipping its next-generation core router for more than two years, had taken advantage of its head start and gained significant market share over the past year.

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