Today just happens to be Cisco Systems 20th birthday. The company has grown up from practically nothing in the last 20 years to become the networking giant that it is today. Now it has its eye firmly on its next 20 years of business.

"I think the company has gone through multiple transitions throughout the years. In the early days, we prevailed because of the engineering, and while we've always maintained a good balance between marketing and engineering, I feel today we are getting back to our technology roots. There's a lot of innovative spirit within Cisco now." - Mike Volpi, vice president and general manager of Cisco's routing group.

Cisco business soared in the 1990s when the Internet came of age, but suffered badly when the telecommunications boom started to run out of steam. Many years followed of slackening demand for routers, switches and other networking infrastructure equipment, but Cisco has emerged from all that even stronger than ever, and is now ready for a bright future.

"Over the next few years, large telephone companies around the world are expected to build out huge IP networks to support broadband and new services like IP telephony and IP video. The market is expected to surge about 20 percent a year, nearly twice that of the corporate market, which is where Cisco has traditionally made its money."