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Cabletron boosts ATM bandwidth

Cabletron will fill holes in its asynchronous transfer mode product line with new switches aimed at both the low and high ends of the market for wide-bandwidth technology.

Cabletron Systems (CS) will fill holes in its ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) product line at this week's Networld+Interop in London, addressing the low and high ends of the market for wide-bandwidth technology.

Cabletron officials said that adding an array of ATM products to its lineup strengthens its belief that enterprise networks can be switch-driven, rather than router-focused.

Cabletron joins the fight for telephone carrier and Internet service providers' network dollars that is currently dominated by Cascade Communications and Stratacom, acquired earlier this year by rival Cisco Systems.

Elements of this week's announcement include an ATM switch module for Cabletron's enterprise class MMAC-Plus switching chassis; a new family of LAN (local area network) backbone and workgroup ATM switches called the SmartCell ZX-250 line; and new networking software services that support ATM and provide virtual LAN capabilities.

The MMAC-Plus SmartCell switch provides switching capacity up to 75.6GB per second. A fully configured MMAC-Plus switching chassis can support 224 ATM ports. As ATM has had most of its success as a wide area network enterprise backbone for telecommunications companies and ISPs, Cabletron's speedy rate should make them a player with those kinds of companies, according to Cabletron.

The ZX-250 line includes the 250, designed for workgroup-size ATM applications; the 250i, for connectivity between LAN workgroup segments; and the 250r, which includes high-availability features intended for workgroup backbones. All of the switches offer a 15-port capacity flowing at 155 mbps.

The SmartLane networking software services will let segmented portions--or subnets--of a network communicate with each other. Thus, these different departments become a "virtual" LAN because they have the same communications capabilities and access to data that a LAN segment itself would provide.

The company also announced an extension of its reseller agreement with Fore Systems until the year 2002. The agreement now includes increased joint marketing activities. Fore fills the midrange void in Cabletron's product line.

The MMAC-Plus SmartCell switch will ship in the first quarter of 1997 and is priced at less than $4,000 per port. The ZX-250 workgroup switch line starts at $7,995 and will ship within 90 days.