As part of a growing tide toward the implementation of virtual private networks, or VPNs, 3Com will deliver new support for the IP Security Protocol (IPSec) to facilitate firewall protection and encryption, as well as an accompanying management tool within its TranscendWare software suite.
"VPNs are real," said Sung Park, product manager for 3Com. "It's as real as it gets."
Though VPN technology is largely used for remote access connections, 3Com executives said they expect a wider array of applications to come to market shortly.
The enhancements are combined with hardware updates that include a new two-processor module for the company's NetBuilder II line of enterprise routers that offloads certain functions usually crunched by a single chip, as well as two new modules to support wide area interfaces.
The company continues to augment the NetBuilder II line of routers, which originally shipped in 1992, even though the devices trail the dominant Cisco Systems in the market by a huge margin. Bay Networks router lines also have secured more market share than 3Com.
3Com has also dedicated much of its marketing rhetoric to a new generation of technology that allows a certain amount of routing functions to be built into lower-cost switches for a fraction of the cost.
Nevertheless, 3Com continues to stress a strategy for customers that allows them to keep their existing equipment while upgrading to the latest enhancements.
In conjunction with the router-specific hardware updates, 3Com announced new software that allows management of the Netbuilder II line via the Web, as well as configuration and upgrade utilities.
The new dual processor module is available with prices beginning at $12,995. The wide area modules start at $1,895. Pricing for the software dependst on the network load and the customer support package being purchased.