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3Com searches for port

3Com will ship a new switch that will lower the price for dedicated Ethernet connections to about $120 a port.

3Com (COMS) believes that the time has come for mass adoption of dedicated Ethernet connections to the desktop--and that lowering the price will do the trick.

By bringing the cost per Ethernet port down to about $120, the company hopes that it can carve out a mainstream market in the Internet and intranet age for what has previously been a high-performance niche.

To achieve that goal, the company is planning to ship next month the SuperStack II desktop switch--priced at $2,995 for 24 ports and featuring 3Com's PACE real-time multimedia applications and remote monitoring on every port.

Similar switches on the market have hovered around the $200-per-port range. But with added the performance at lower costs represented by the SuperStack switch, 3Com hopes to drive this product into any market that values access to information, according to Nick Brasier, product line manager for workgroup switches at 3Com.

The SuperStack II desktop model also includes support for up to 16 virtual local area network (VLANs) and Simple Network Management Protocol, as well as RMON management. The built-in backbone Fast Ethernet connection can be upgraded to asynchronous transfer mode.