The about-face came in the wake of a November press release from the networking giant, which highlighted new hardware and software to improve the performance of virtual private networks (VPNs). News of "advanced security services within Cisco IOS Software" was included in the release. IOS is the network systems software used in most Cisco hardware products.
Also mentioned in the announcement were improved quality of service (QoS) features for VPNs, as well as support for new Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) services such as integrated support of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Dynamic Multipoint VPNs and Network Address Translation (NAT) transparency.
IPSec is an Internet security standard that is commonly used in deploying VPNs.
The latest IOS software features were to be available immediately for a variety of platforms that run IOS, ranging from the company's 800 series routers to its 7000 series routers, according to the Cisco announcement.
However, a media alert posted on Cisco's Web site on Friday stated that, although those features were available on "select Cisco platforms", they would not be available on the 800 through 7000 series routers until the first or second quarters of 2003.
Cisco did not clarify what was meant by "select Cisco platforms", nor did it list router platforms on which the new IOS software features were supported.
Although Cisco did not provide any firm dates for the release, it said in its alert that the IPSec enhancements would be "available across a broader set of platforms" in the second quarter of 2003.
An updated version of the November announcement posted on Cisco's Web site said that the new features "will be available in a phased manner over the next few months across the Cisco 800 to 7000 series routers".