Not content to rest on its laurels, networking expert Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) is looking to expand its market in a couple of different ways today. First up is some new hardware of the kind you'd expect from this company. It's an end-to-end lineup of cable modem equipment, intended to make 100-megabits-per-second, consumer-level Internet connections commonplace -- with the option of gigabit Internet access under some conditions.

The new standard, dubbed Wideband for DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification), should be compliant with the next-generation DOCSIS 3 specification and is backwards-compatible with existing cable modem equipment up to DOCSIS 2.0b. That's an important selling point because it lets cable operators like Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) or Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) Cable deploy the new standard piece by piece rather than having to rip out existing infrastructure.

Wideband has been under testing in Scandinavia for some time already, with Danish cable leader TDB Kabel and Swedish voice, data, and TV provider Com Hem running the trials. Together, the two companies serve 15 million customers across Northern Europe, so the new technology should have had quite a workout already and should be ready for worldwide rollout.

But Cisco isn't aiming for a simple round of network upgrades here. The company wants to see high-speed broadband reaching as many households as possible in preparation for the next step, which is video on-demand. The Scientific-Atlanta acquisition last year, together with the home networking expertise the Linksys deal brought into the fold, points to a wholesale invasion of our living rooms rather than of corporate data centers. That revolution hasn't quite happened yet, and content licensing problems may delay it for another couple of years, but Cisco will be ready when it comes and should reap handsome benefits from it.

In other news, the Cisco Press publishing arm is now offering downloadable e-books on how to manage and maintain Cisco networks. So, if "Routing TCP/IP, Volume I, Second Ed." sounds like great bedtime reading, you can pick up a copy online, right now, and read it within minutes. If you expect to need more network administrators in the coming years, it makes perfect sense to make training easier, which is exactly what Cisco is doing here. The company can smell change in the air and is preparing to take full advantage of the new world order.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund still doesn't own any Cisco stock, or any other stock mentioned. He's tightly connected with Foolish disclosure rules, though, and he envies his brother's 100 mbps Com Hem connection.