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3Com parcels out bandwidth

The company is releasing a new management software tool that will mark its initial steps in creating a policy-based network scheme for users.

3Com (COMS) will release a new management software tool next week that will mark the company's initial steps in creating a policy-based network scheme that provides bandwidth to crucial applications.

A new Transcend Policy Manager console for network manager and back-end Policy Server will be able to set policies for an entire network from a single machine.

A policy-based management scheme basically allows an administrator to prioritize between different types of traffic going to and from applications, depending on the importance of the program. That gives more important applications the immediate bandwidth they need, while less vital systems are fed bandwidth as it's available.

A policy created with the Windows NT-based Policy Manager is disseminated across a network to devices via the Policy Server.

The new tools are part of an over-arching strategy to enable multimedia applications to thrive on a network without hogging precious bandwidth.

Company executives said its support for a variety of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Internet Engineering Task Force standards in its infrastructure equipment, edge devices, and networking cards will eventually reap rewards in delivering voice, video, and data-based applications to users.

Also included in this policy-based network concept is support for directory services software from the likes of Microsoft, Netscape Communications, and Novell via LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol), an interoperability protocol.

"The policy dimension is really tied back to the single directory in a corporation concept," said Ron Sege, vice president for the company's enterprise business unit. "It's really a first phase in a series of steps."

The new tool will be available in the third quarter of this year. No pricing was immediately available.