Tech Industry

IBM readies networking tools

Big Blue will debut low-end Ethernet-based switching devices and midrange routing equipment, just as a new divisional GM gets started.

Just as a new executive takes the helm of IBM's networking hardware division, Big Blue is adding a new series of networking tools to its roster, extending its presence in the corporate market and tying its line of routing devices to the multimedia age.

Among the items the computing giant will roll out tomorrow are new low-end Ethernet-based switching devices, new midrange routing equipment, and new support for voice-over-IP. The debuts come as Jim Pertzborn moves into the general manager's post, a position that has been vacant for some time.

The launch includes:

  • A new routing device called the Access Utility that is intended to offer medium-sized businesses and campus networks routing functions along with other advanced network services such as virtual private network (VPN) capability, not to mention support for voice, data, and fax-based traffic. The hardware includes support for Ethernet, token ring, integrated services digital network (ISDN), and modem ports. The technology is targeted at networks using IBM's AS/400 systems.

  • New Ethernet-based 10/100 megabits-per-second switching devices for as low as $99 per port. The new devices come in five variations and will begin shipping this month. There will also be new gigabit-speed adapters to connect IBM networks to NetFinity server systems. Jose Garcia, IBM's workgroup networks business line manager, said the move follows the company's commitment earlier this year to up its Ethernet investments.

  • Delivery of new voice-over-IP technology from the acquisition of DataBeam, a company recently purchased by IBM's Lotus Development software division. Inclusion of software support allows IBM router-based networks to implement "packetized" delivery of voice, often a cheaper alternative to traditional use of phone lines.

    Pertzborn will report to Jim Vanderslice, senior vice president and group executive for the newly created technology group within Big Blue, a business comprising the company's storage, microelectronics, printing, display, technology market development, and networking hardware divisions.