Computer and telecommunications network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) on Wednesday posted a slightly lower quarterly profit due to the cost of expensing stock options.

The company's net income for the fiscal first quarter of 2006, ended October 29, 2005, was $1.3 billion, or 20 cents per share, compared with $1.4 billion, or 21 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco is the top supplier to businesses of the routers and switches that direct Internet traffic as it explores new businesses such as home networking, security and optical networks. It also is fighting smaller rival Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) for a bigger slice of the telecommunications carrier supply business.

Cisco's shares trade at about 17 times fiscal 2006 earnings, slightly above the Standard & Poor's 500 Index average, but below most of its peers on the Dow Jones U.S. Telecommunications Equipment Index.