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Products roll out at ComNet

Networking product lines are rounded out, enhanced, rolled out, and put through their paces at the ComNet '97 show.

WASHINGTON D.C.--The nearly 50,000 attendees of ComNet '97 may be disappointed if they came here to find technologies for the next millennium, but not if they hoped to see next year's models.

A surprisingly large number of companies are using the show to round out or enhance their networking product lines; among the companies active at the show are:

  • Digital Equipment (DEC), with a new 600/300 family of switches and shared hubs for corporate departments. The MultiSwitch 600 system allows users to be assigned to up to seven Ethernet local area network (LAN) segments through software. It supports up to eight Ethernet or Fast Ethernet hub or switching modules, which means that up to 288 shared Ethernet ports, 96 shared Fast Ethernet ports, or 208 switched ports can be supported within one stack of the 600 system. The new system includes a 24-port shared Ethernet module, a 12-port Ethernet and 2-port Fast Ethernet switch module, a 24-port Ethernet and 2-port Fast Ethernet switch module, and a 12-port shared Fast Ethernet hub module. The 600/300 family will debut next month and July, with prices starting at $1,495.

  • 3Com (COMS), with a new AccessBuilder 4000WANStack remote access server that includes a 32-port system for ISDN connections. The rollout is accompanied by new software so existing customers can update their equipment. The software includes support for Point-to-Point Tunneling (PPTP), a feature of 3Com's Virtual Private Network (VPN) strategy, as previously reported by CNET. The AccessBuilder 4000 ISDN WANStack system is currently available starting at $16,495.

  • Newbridge Networks ( NN), which debuted three new Vivid switch modules for its router. The Vivid Fast Ethernet Orange Ridge links up to 12 autosensing 10/100 mbps Ethernet ports for LAN switch uplinks or high-performance server connections. The Vivid 10Base FL Yellow Ridge module includes 12 10BaseT Ethernet ports for desktop connections or links between departments in a single building. Both the Orange and Yellow Ridge are priced at $17,000 and are available now. The Vivid FDDI Red Ridge, available in the second quarter of this year, offers FDDI connectivity to an asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) backbone. The Red Ridge is priced at $25,000.

  • Ascend Communications (ASND), with the new GRF 1600--an IP switch that includes routing hardware functions, which differentiates it from other IP switches that perform routing functions via software. The new switch supports a wide variety of media cards, including 10/100 mbps Ethernet, FDDI, SONET, and ATM, as well as many routing protocols. The GRF 1600 base product will be available in April for $32,000.

    Separately, Ipsilon Networks and Cascade Communications (CSCC) have used the occasion to showcase a demonstration of live video conferencing running over switching based on the Internet Protocol (IP), the dominant communications protocol of the Internet, and Frame Relay. The demonstration represents the first time Ipsilon's IP Switch Controller has been used in a Frame Relay setting. Previously, the company only offered its IP switching concept running over asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) technology.

    ComNet '97 continues through tomorrow when Cisco Systems President and CEO John Chambers will deliver a keynote on the subject of "Networking for Business Scalability."