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Start-up does some networking

A Santa Clara start-up will toss its hat into the networking hardware ring this month.

A new computer networking hardware company is being born in Silicon Valley, one that will be destined to compete with such established giants as Cisco Systems, 3Com, and Bay Networks while creating a niche of its own.

Called Acclaim Communications, the company will launch this month to sell switching and routing equipment to link computers together. The Santa Clara, California-based company's founders include industry veterans Vish Akella and Dirk Christiansen, two of the original founders of a networking company called Kalpana that was later bought by Cisco in October 1994.

Privately held, Acclaim will specialize in frame relay access equipment--equipment that can be used to link computers between branch offices and a central office, but at reportedly lower prices than many other technologies.

The frame-relay market is already crowded, but many smaller players have proven they can find profitable space in the field. The company's launch has been kept under wraps, but it did join a trade group known as the Frame-Relay Forum, which helps set national and international standards for the technology.