Cisco unveils device for delivering wireless content

Cisco Systems Inc. unveiled a new appliance for converting HTML (hypertext markup language) and XML (extensible markup language) into other data formats suitable for use on wireless devices, cellular phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants), the company announced Wednesday.

The Cisco CTE 1400 Series Content Transformation Engine is an appliance the size of a single rack unit server, sitting on the network between client devices like phones or PDAs, and the content switches and caching devices containing data. It supports up to 10,000 simultaneous users and 1,400 concurrent active sessions per unit, according to Cisco.

The Cisco CTE passes on requests for content to back-end servers, functioning like a reverse-proxy. It passes on essential information formatted to fit the relatively small screens and memory requirements of the specific requesting devices like a PDA or WAP (wireless application protocol) enabled phone, acting as a Web server to the client device and as a client device to the Web server.

It supports multiple protocols, including HTML, XML, XSL (extensible stylesheet language), XSLT (extensible stylesheet language transformation), XHTML (extensible hypertext markup language) and WML (wireless markup language).

This kind of HTML-to-WAP conversion can be done with the right software on a Web server. But Cisco claims that its appliance enables quick installation of the format conversion ability into any network infrastructure without requiring changes to existing hardware or back-end software.

The appliance will be available this month, priced at US$69,995, according to Cisco.

Cisco Systems Inc., in San Jose, Calif. can be reached at