Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, networking giant Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Cisco's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Cisco facts

Headquarters (founded) San Jose, Calif. (1984)
Market Cap $127.7 billion
Industry Communications equipment
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $40.04 billion
Management Chairman/CEO John Chambers
CFO Frank Calderoni
Return on Equity (average, past 3 years) 20%
Cash/Debt $39.86 billion / $15.3 billion
Competitors Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR)
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ)
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 95% of the 9,422 members who have rated Cisco believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include AlphaCenturion and sjf2005.

Just last month, AlphaCenturion tapped Cisco as a solid future income opportunity: "[T]ech is starting to heat up again and their recent dividend announcement should drive some institutional buying. Provided we don't slip into another bear market I think you can expect to see Cisco make up a lot of lost ground over the next several months."

Cisco's dominant competitive position and $40 billion cash hoard -- some of it which will now be shared with shareholders in the form of dividends -- continue to support its four-star status. Thanks to its massive scale and high customer switching costs, Cisco's five-year average operating margins (23%) easily top those of networking gear rivals HP (9%), Juniper (3%), and Alcatel (-12%), as well as data-center server foes IBM (NYSE: IBM) (15%) and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) (4.9%).

With the shares down about 15% over the past six months, CAPS member sjf2005 thinks Cisco is a timely opportunity, to boot:

This leading networking and communication device supplier will continue lead innovation in the data equipment and service industry. CEO John Chambers has built up a $39.1 billion war chest of cash on the balance sheet for strategic acquisitions and to eventually institute a dividend before he leaves. ... Rock-solid management has improved or maintained respectable positions on nearly every metric [year-over-year] since the tech bubble, when shares were trading at 94x earnings. Now shares are on offer for roughly 10x fwd earnings estimates. I say buy.

What do you think about Cisco, or any other stock for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Owning exceptional stocks is a surefire way to secure your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to find them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!  

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has written a bull call spread on Cisco, and owns shares of IBM. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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