3Com scalable Gigabit woos public sector

Network firm 3Com has introduced a new family of products aimed at providing users with low-cost scalable Gigabit Ethernet...

Network firm 3Com has introduced a new family of products aimed at providing users with low-cost scalable Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure

The company's strategy is to offer users a way to boost their network core without having to make a heavy upfront investment in network infrastructure.

The technology is based on eXpandable Resilient Networking (XRN), new software from 3Com aimed to help network managers build what the company describes as "affordable LAN cores with exceptional performance and flexibility".

The target markets include schools, local authorities and health authorities, as well as businesses that are reluctant to make heavy capital spending commitments.

Paul Malcolm, 3Com's UK country manager, said that building a scalable network core would be significantly cheaper with the XRN technology than for chassis-based Gigabit network switches.

A chassis would cost around £200,000, said Malcolm, but with XRN, 3Com allows users to start building a Gigabit network core with just £12,750.

At this week's CEBIT show, the company introduced the 4060 switch, the first product to use XRN technology.

Stanimira Koleva, channel sales manager for 3Com's business networks connectivity division, said the 4060 switch was the building block for creating "a single distributed network fabric".

Users could start building their network core by linking 4060 boxes together using XRN technology, she said, adding that the box offered a modular design and provided hot swappable resiliency.

XRN software is part of 3Com's strategy to offer users a long-term upgrade path for enterprise networks. According to 3Com, XRN software will allow multiple interconnected Gigabit switches to behave as a distributed switching fabric that grows with the network without the physical limitations of a centralised core device.

At the moment, the distance between XRN products is limited to 150 metres. But for the future, 3Com's strategy is to offer users a way to position network boxes where they fit most appropriately on the network. "The distance is limited only by Gigabit technology," explained Koleva.

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