Microsoft Corp has its eye on the lucrative wide area networking router business currently in the hands of Cisco Systems Inc and 3Com Corp, and is preparing to launch a beta-test version of new routing software for Windows NT this month. The software, code-named Steelhead, converts standard servers running Windows NT into routers with the addition of a cheap networking card, according to press reports. The software extends NT’s current minimal routing support for IP and IPX local area network protocols to the OSPF Open Shortcut Path First and RIP 2 Routing Internet Protocols, and is integrated with NT’s Remote Access Services and Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. Steelhead is aimed at replacing low-end and mid-range stand-alone proprietary routers, and features an easy to use management graphical user interface, according to a lab report in PC Week. Final versions are expected this Summer, and further work, under the code name Rainbow, is expected in the future for NT release 5.0.