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Bay to update routing tools

Bay Networks next week will announce plans to tie its older networking devices to new high-speed equipment.

Bay Networks next week will announce plans to tie its older networking devices to new high-speed equipment.

The move is intended to keep Bay's routing equipment relevant in a networked world that is rapidly growing comfortable with the idea of using faster switching technology in most corners of a layout.

The company will announce support for Gigabit Ethernet links within its Backbone Node (BN) line of routing equipment, tying its growing high-speed local area and backbone switching business to wide area connection points that use routers.

Gigabit Ethernet represents the next speed increase for classic Ethernet technology, the primary networking pipe to connect PCs and server systems to a network. A trend in the industry is to support limited routing functions in gigabit-speed switches, a combination that can speed packets at a much faster rate than traditional multiprotocol routing devices.

"We see the role of the router changing," said Eve Griliches, product manager for the BN. "We really see it now as a component of a total solution."

The updates will allow the BN to speed data at more than 3 million packets per second.

Bay's move comes as rumors continue to swirl that the firm is amenable to a possible purchase. Northern Telecom has emerged as a likely candidate.

Support for Gigabit Ethernet in the company's router line will be released as a module in the first quarter of next year for $13,000. A higher-speed processor board will be released in the same time frame for $20,000. Other enhancements, including a compression processor and support for virtual local networks within the company's software, will roll out in the second quarter of this year.

Separately, the company also will announce an initiative to extend SS7-based systems to support the needs of dial-access systems. The protocol is another signal of convergence between classic phone networks and data-based layouts.

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