The new Centillion switch, the C50N, continues a company effort called "adaptive networking" that was launched earlier this year to reenergize interest in the faltering firm's products.
The new model continues a common theme in today's networking industry: providing gear that connects departmental LANs (local area networks) based on Ethernet to the high-speed back ends of corporate networks based on asynchronous transfer mode technology.
A newly released report from the Dell'Oro Group should add some marketing spice to Bay's LAN to ATM strategy. The market researcher found that Bay's share of ATM switch ports grew from 12.5 percent to 19.6 percent during the first quarter, leaving the company less than two percentage points behind ATM stalwart Fore Systems.
Bay's C50N switch is composed of two ATM ports and 16 10-mbps Ethernet ports, with one expansion slot that offers integration with the larger Centillion 100 switch platform for Token Ring, ATM, and Ethernet connections, according to the company.
Analysts said the new switch will be most useful as a LAN traffic "feeder" to corporate networks but needs Gigabit Ethernet uplinks to be flexible. The new switch will be available this month for $9,995.
The ATM capabilities of the new C50N complement the existing Centillion switch architecture, providing load-balancing capabilities on the two ATM links, for example. The new workgroup switch will also support emerging IP multicast and Layer 3 features, according to the company.
Bay officials believe the combination of ATM and LAN capabilities in one box has struck a nerve with users, as evidenced by the success of competing products from the likes of 3Com. "We're starting to see this as a growing segment of the industry," said Kishore Seshadri, a Bay product manager.
Future directions for the C50N include Token Ring modules, higher port densities for Ethernet-based modules, and auto-sensing 10/100-Mbps Ethernet modules, according to Seshadri.