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Foundry to help older telecom firms catch up

The networking company has created new technology that will allow old-line telecommunications carriers to compete against start-ups that offer businesses fast Internet access at cheap prices.

Foundry Networks has created new technology that will allow old-line telecommunications carriers to compete against start-ups that offer businesses fast Internet access at cheap prices.

The company will detail the advances at this week's Networld+Interop networking industry trade show in Atlanta.

Some new telecommunications start-ups, such as Yipes and Telseon, are building networks in metropolitan areas that offer customers more than twice the speed at about half the cost of similar services from traditional phone companies such as Pacific Bell.

The start-ups are using Ethernet networking technology from network equipment makers such as Foundry, Extreme Networks and Riverstone Networks, among others. Foundry's new software--built into its networking equipment--will allow the traditional phone companies to offer businesses the same cheap, fast Internet connections through their existing networks, analysts say.

"They're saddled by their (older) infrastructure," said Burton Group analyst Dave Passmore. "So this helps the incumbent carriers like Pacific Bell...to build out their metropolitan Ethernet networks and offer services just like Yipes and Telseon."

Foundry executives said the Ethernet technology is built into a new release of its software that runs on top of its networking equipment.

In other announcements, Foundry is announcing a new networking device for businesses that features more network connections and is smaller than previous products. The device, called the FastIron III high-density Layer 3 LAN Switch, will ship in November.

The company is also announcing a faster Web switch, technology that manages Web traffic for e-commerce Web sites and Internet service providers. The product, called the ServerIron 4802, will ship in the 2001 first quarter.

The company also plans to detail interoperability techniques between its switching equipment and metropolitan optical systems from Ciena.