Cisco Systems

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Cisco Systems, Inc.

legal form Corporation
ISIN US17275R1023
founding 1984
Seat San Jose , California , United States
United StatesUnited States 
management Chuck Robbins ( CEO )
John Chambers ( Chairman )
Number of employees 75,900 (2019)
sales $ 51.9 billion (EUR 41.6 billion) (2019)
Branch Computer networks , telecommunications

Cisco Systems, Inc. is a US company in the telecommunications industry . It is best known for its routers and switches , which are used by a substantial part of the Internet backbones .


Logo until October 2006

Cisco was founded in December 1984 by a group of scientists (primarily Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner) from Stanford University near San Francisco . The aim was to simplify the networking of computers and to use them more effectively. In 1986, Cisco launched its first multi-protocol router - a mix of hardware and intelligent software that soon established itself as the standard for networking platforms on the market.

As a result of the Internet boom in the mid-1990s, the share price rose from its initial public offering on March 29, 1990, after a split adjustment, from $ 0.08 to March 30, 2000 by 96,637 percent to $ 77.31. This made Cisco Systems the most expensive company in the world for a short time with a market value of approximately $ 555 billion.

In fiscal 2008, Cisco had record sales of $ 39.5 billion and profits of $ 8.1 billion. Cisco has been listed on the DJIA since June 8, 2009 and is therefore included in the world's most important index. Cisco has taken General Motors' place.

Linksys sold logo

Traditionally only known to IT departments of companies, the company tried to establish itself in the end consumer market. An important step in this direction was the acquisition of Linksys in June 2003 for $ 500 million - a leading manufacturer of home network technology. The Linksys brand, which has been managed separately since then, should be given up in the future in favor of Cisco, as the latter has established itself well in the end-user market. In 2013 Cisco sold the Linksys home network division to Belkin International to focus on hardware and software for businesses. In May 2013 the company took over the Munich tech start-up JouleX for 107 million US dollars. Their cloud-based energy management solutions are intended to help record and reduce the energy consumption of all devices operated in a network.

In July 2015, after 20 years , John Chambers resigned from the post of Chief Executive Officer and became Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. He was succeeded by Chuck Robbins .

Business figures

In fiscal 2017, Cisco had revenues of $ 48 billion with a profit of $ 9.6 billion. Since 2003, sales and profits have more than doubled (+150% and +170%, respectively). The market value rose in the same period from $ 96 billion to $ 156 billion (+ 60%) and was around $ 244 billion in October 2018.

year Sales
in billion US dollars
in billions of dollars
in billions of dollars
Market value
in billion US dollars
2003 18.9 3.5 37 96
2004 22.0 4.4 36 170
2005 24.8 5.7 34 130
2006 28.5 5.6 43 152
2007 34.9 7.3 53 157
2008 39.5 8.1 59 165
2009 36.1 6.1 68 96
2010 40.0 7.8 81 138
2011 43.2 6.5 87 114
2012 46.1 8.0 92 109
2013 48.6 10.0 101 104
2014 47.1 7.9 105 121
2015 49.2 9.0 113 142
2016 49.2 10.7 122 138
2017 48.0 9.6 130 156
2018 49.3 0.11 109 160
2019 51.9 11.6 98 181

The name Cisco is derived from the last two syllables of the founding place San Francisco. The company logo shows a comb spectrum of a periodic signal in the form of blue vertical bars, which is reminiscent of the shape of the Golden Gate Bridge .

subsidiary company

Since its inception, Cisco Systems has bought and integrated over 160 other companies.


High-performance router (Cisco 7600 series carrier-class Ethernet solutions)
DOCSIS 3.0 cable gateway of the new generation with built-in DHCP server from Cisco Systems

Cisco offers solutions for almost all areas of network operation: routers , switches ( LAN , SAN ), WLAN , unified communications, VoIP , contact centers, video, TelePresence, network management, security ( firewall , authentication, virtual private network ).

The Cisco routers, most switches and wireless access points use the Internetwork Operating System (IOS). The devices are flexibly configurable / adaptable through the IOS, which most likely explains the great success of the Cisco products. The CatOS operating system used to be used on the switches of the Catalyst series.

It is still important on the Catalyst 4500, 6500 and 6500 E series and can be operated here on the supervisor engines (SUP) both exclusively and in hybrid mode together with an IOS. In the latter case, a "Multi Switch Feature Card" (MSFC) is required on the SUP on which the IOS is running. The CatOS offers fewer features than the IOS, but it also works more stable because it has fewer points of attack or possible sources of error. It is sufficient or optimal for switching in the core area, but it will in all probability be replaced by the IOS.

With the PIX series or ASA, Cisco is also active on the market in the field of encryption and security. Linksys products are also sold in the low price segment . With the emerging arrangements for monitoring data traffic on the Internet (2000/2001), Cisco began to develop suitable solutions for small and large Internet service providers to meet these requirements.

In 2007, Cisco took over WebEx Communications . WebEx has since continued as a subsidiary within the group, and numerous software solutions for collaboration in companies are offered under the WebEx brand . WebEx Meetings is one of the most popular services for web-based video conferencing .

The company is said to have integrated backdoors into its products for US secret services . This is denied by the company. According to documents from Edward Snowden's archives , the National Security Agency is specifically building eavesdropping devices into Cisco products that are delivered to specific target objects. For this purpose, the shipments are intercepted, the products bugged in a secret location, repackaged and then sent to the target object.

Well-known company developments

Protocols and standards:

Cisco Networking Academy

Cisco offers a comprehensive program of training and certification for network technicians and system administrators. Cisco Systems is sponsoring a number of IT professional certifications on its products. There are five degrees of certification: Entry (CCENT), Associate (CCNA / CCDA), Professional (CCNP / CCDP), Expert (CCIE / CCDE) and Architect and the eight different careers Routing & Switching, Design, Network Security, Service Provider, Service Provider operations, storage networking, voice, data center and wireless. There are also numerous technician, sales and data center certifications. Cisco also offers training for these certificates through a portal. Educational institutions can also become members of the Cisco Networking Academy and offer courses. Cisco is often involved in the field of technical training. The Academy program is active worldwide with over 10,000 partners in over 65 countries.

Cisco in Germany

Sales and profit development
  • Senior Vice President and President Cisco Europe: Wendy Mars
  • Vice President Cisco Germany: Uwe Peter
  • Employees in Germany: 850
  • Locations in Germany: Garching near Munich, Berlin, Bonn, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Eschborn near Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Mannheim

(As of June 2018)

Espionage allegations

In December 2013, a security researcher discovered a backdoor in his Linksys router that had port 32764 open .

In January 2014, heise Security researched that Cisco's routers and routers from other US router manufacturers also have a built-in backdoor that allows both the Internet service provider and third parties to read and manipulate all of the router's configuration data via the Internet, including the passwords for administrator access to the router, WLAN , DSL access, proxy server and DynDNS services as well as passwords and certificates for VPNs . Accordingly, this data can be read out and manipulated by an undocumented service that is integrated into the router software. In addition, it is possible to redirect and fully monitor all of the router's data traffic. In response to this, router manufacturer Netgear , among others , made an apparent security update available in April 2014 that supposedly should close the backdoor. The reverse engineer Eloi Vanderbeken found in an analysis, however, that the backdoor is still there and that it was not closed with the alleged security update, but merely better hidden and even expanded. From the latter, Vanderbeken as well as heise Security and other security researchers conclude that the backdoor discovered in January 2014 was not installed accidentally but intentionally not only at Netgear, but also at Cisco and the other router manufacturers.

In retrospect, it became known that individual users in the Cisco support forum had pointed out signs of the backdoor since at least 2010, but Cisco completely ignored the requests. In the French-speaking Netgear support forum, signs of the identical backdoor in Netgear routers have been pointed out since 2003. Based on some of the intelligence documents published by Edward Snowden as part of the espionage affair in 2013 , security researchers assume that the hidden backdoor was intentionally built in by Cisco and other router manufacturers to allow the security authorities full monitoring and full access to the routers at all times.


In 2003, Cisco sued Huawei , which allegedly copied Cisco products. The defendant company gave in and modified its own products.

On December 11, 2008, the Free Software Foundation filed a lawsuit against Cisco for alleged violations of the GNU General Public License and the GNU Lesser General Public License . In spring 2009, Cisco and the FSF reached a settlement and the proceedings were discontinued.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b 2019 Annual Report
  2. Information at "Marketwatch"
  3. Cisco Systems: Welcome to the Dow Jones! In: The shareholder . June 2, 2009, archived from the original on July 6, 2009 ; Retrieved June 2, 2009 .
  4. ^ Bye bye Linksys. In: heise online . July 27, 2007, accessed January 21, 2020 .
  5. Belkin completes acquisition of Linksys. In: heise online . March 18, 2013, accessed January 21, 2020 .
  6. Belkin acquires Linksys from Cisco. In: heise online . January 25, 2013, accessed January 21, 2020 .
  7. How energy efficient is your network? In: JouleX GmbH, accessed on August 10, 2013 .
  8. a b Cisco changes boss after 20 years. heise online , May 4, 2015, accessed on January 21, 2020 .
  9. Cisco Systems | CSCO | Sales revenues. Retrieved October 21, 2018 .
  10. List of Acquisitions by Cisco ,
  11. geht-chuck-robbins-kom-a- 1032018.html
  12. Cisco is getting WebEx for $ 3.2 billion. In: Computerwoche. Retrieved May 11, 2014 .
  13. Sönke Iwersen, Ina Karabasz, Jens Koenen, Susanne Metzger: Anger over a friend . In: Handelsblatt . No. 109 , June 11, 2013, ISSN  0017-7296 , p. 1, 4 .
  14. Security Vulnerability Policy of the company
  15. Glenn Greenwald : Global Surveillance . 1st edition. Droemer, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-426-27635-8 , pp. 214 f .
  16. Cisco IT Certification and Career Paths. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013 ; accessed on March 24, 2015 . (English)
  17. locations. Cisco, accessed June 16, 2018 .
  18. Security: back door discovered in WLAN routers - . January 3, 2014 ( [accessed October 30, 2018]).
  19. Jürgen Schmidt: Mysterious router backdoor: Many thousands of routers in Germany have a back door., January 10, 2014, accessed on April 22, 2014 .
  20. Fabian Scherschel: Netgear closes the back door in the DGN1000 modem router., April 7, 2014, accessed on April 22, 2014 .
  21. Ronald Eikenberg: Netgear update: Router backdoor just hidden?, April 22, 2014, accessed on April 22, 2014 .
  22. Eloi Vanderbeken: Another backdoor in my router: when Christmas is NOT enough! , April 18, 2014, accessed April 22, 2014.
  23. User "DominikAu": Request from a user regarding the gap in the official Cisco support forum., March 28, 2010, accessed April 23, 2014 .
  24. User "olivierh": Request from a user regarding the gap in the official Netgear support forum. (No longer available online.), December 27, 2003, archived from the original on April 24, 2014 ; Retrieved April 23, 2014 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  25. Benedikt Fuest: Router companies repaired data leakage only to appear., April 21, 2014, accessed April 23, 2014 .
  26. Cisco Systems is suing Huawei Technologies., January 23, 2003, accessed December 21, 2009 .
  27. Cisco withdraws lawsuit against Huawei., July 24, 2004, accessed December 21, 2009 .
  28. Brett Smith: Free Software Foundation Files Suit Against Cisco For GPL Violations. Free Software Foundation, December 11, 2008; accessed December 21, 2009 .
  29. ^ Brett Smith: FSF Settles Suit Against Cisco. FSF, May 20, 2009, accessed October 30, 2018 .