Cisco has bought ethernet specialist Greenfield Networks for an undisclosed sum.

Greenfield is a privately held company founded in 2000 that makes processors to handle advanced functions in ethernet switches. It is headed by Bill Rossi, former head of Cisco's wireless networking unit, and several other ex-Cisco executives.

Metro ethernet extends the familiar LAN technology to a regionwide scale – something that service providers are looking at to offer high-speed business services with flexible bandwidth and an interface that enterprise network staffs already understand. Ethernet also tends to cost less than traditional carrier network technologies.

Cisco is already a major player in metro ethernet. Greenfield's technology is complementary and will be integrated with Cisco's own, helping the company bring out new carrier-class features more quickly, Cisco said. Greenfield's products support features such as packet prioritisation, guaranteed bandwidth, MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) and IPv6.

Greenfield is based in California, and has 60 employees there and in Bangalore, India. The employees and products will be integrated into Cisco's Ethernet and Wireless Technology Group. The deal should close early next year.

More details here.