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3Com matches Cisco moves with equipment launch

Not to be outdone by competitor Cisco Systems, 3Com launches a set of technology to keep pace in the network equipment market for mid-sized businesses.

When it rains, it pours.

Not to be outdone by competitor Cisco Systems, 3Com launched a set of technology today to keep pace in the network equipment market for mid-sized businesses.

The company introduced a new switching device capable of sending data traffic at gigabit speeds across copper telephone wires. The new technology is based on gigabit Ethernet, the latest speed boost to technology for connecting PCs and server systems together.

Though much of the networking industry is bent on tackling the needs of service providers of all shapes and sizes, corporate network equipment upgrades remain a lucrative opportunity for many. 3Com, in particular, has historically spent much of its time enticing business-oriented customers.

The news follows the announcement of similar technology from Cisco yesterday.

The networking stakes are high. In a 1999 survey completed by consultants Infonetics Research, 49 percent of network managers for mid-sized businesses interviewed said they used 3Com technology in their networks, compared with 21 percent for Cisco.

When asked what they would purchase going forward, however, 67 percent said 3Com, but 43 percent said Cisco--indicative of the company's momentum in the market.

"Of course, you can expect 3Com to defend their turf," Infonetics analyst Mike McConnell said.

3Com will ship its new SuperStack II Switch 9100 in April, supporting six gigabit Ethernet-based links, as well as new "modules" for its SuperStack II 1100 and 3300. In addition, 3Com is currently shipping a new routing module for its 1100 and 3300 lines.