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IBM to roll out new network gear

As part of its huge thrust into neworking, Big Blue will introduce new switching and routing technology.

IBM (IBM) will add to its recently revamped collection of networking equipment next month, rolling out new modules for its Nways switch line and a new router.

The updates are the first since IBM's huge overhaul of its networking line last October. The company has made a huge thrust in the internetworking area recently, augmented by agreements to resell products from Xylan (XYLN) and Cascade Communications (CSCC). IBM continues to add functionality to its line of networking gear in the face of stiff competition from networking leader Cisco Systems (CSCO).

The announcement next month is expected to include:

  • a new wide area network (WAN) frame relay module for the 8273, IBM's Nways Ethernet RouteSwitch.

  • a new 2216 multiprotocol router for networks with Internet Protocol, IPX, AppleTalk, and Systems Network Architecture traffic flows. The new model includes WAN interfaces for asynchronous transfer mode, frame relay, and ISDN.

  • a new Nways shared Ethernet switch with capabilities to switch four local area network (LAN) segments per port.

  • new Management Processor Modules (MPM) for the 8274 Nways LAN RouteSwitch.

    By next year, the fruits of a joint development agreement with Xylan will result in a next-generation Token Ring switch with wider slots for switching modules and higher port density, so the box can handle a higher traffic load. The "wide body" model is expected to support Ethernet, FDDI, and frame relay to ATM modules, according to IBM officials.

    The flurry of activity for IBM next month is intended to show current Big Blue shops that the company is focused on delivering the latest networking technology for customers. Cisco has made a lot of money selling its internetworking equipment to traditional IBM customers because its products support IBM's mainframe computer traffic.