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3Com predicts boost in Gigabit Ethernet adoption

Gigabit Ethernet over copper wiring will take off among businesses as a result of lower implementation costs and corporate demand for higher bandwidth, according to networking giant 3Com.

In the Hong Kong market alone, sales of the company's Gigabit Ethernet products achieved an 80% increase in the first quarter of 2001 over the same period last year, said Kenny Yang, country manager of 3Com Hong Kong.

The Greater China market for Gigabit Ethernet switches and network interface cards has increased threefold to $102.7m (£70m) during the same period, according to IDC.

"The growing use of bandwidth-intensive applications like videoconferencing and voice-over-IP have prompted businesses to upgrade their existing 10/100 and ATM [asynchronous transfer mode] backbones," said Yang.

"Gigabit Ethernet on copper is a good choice for them as it is 700% lower in equipment costs than implementing a network running on fibre-optic wiring," he added.

However, the main limitation of Gigabit Ethernet over copper wiring is that the network is limited to a distance of 100m, whereas the more expensive fibre-optic network can span distances up to 5km, said Yang.

3Com's Gigabit Ethernet customers in Hong Kong include multinationals, the government and higher education institutions.

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