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3Com transcends network traffic

3Com is upgrading its Transcend software framework to help users prioritize traffic and tighten up security policies.

3Com (COMS) wants to help users bypass network traffic jams by waving through the most important data.

Fresh from announcing the biggest merger in networking history, 3Com will upgrade its Transcend software framework, a software package that governs how data passes through 3Com networking equipment. The new Transcend framework will help users prioritize traffic and tighten up security policies, according to analysts familiar with the company's plans.

The move is part of 3Com's answer to a growing customer interest; it creates levels of service and adds better security to the software used in networking hardware such as switches and routers. 3Com rival Cisco Systems recently announced a new effort called the Enterprise Security Alliance that plans to tackle end-to-end security issues. Companies that have signed on to the effort include Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft.

3Com's framework is called 3D Networking and will basically make the server a kind of policy manager, according to sources. Users will set priorities for the data being transmitted and, as data passes through the server, the priorities will be verified with administrative policy. For example, an important file could receive a high priority that would bypass normal electronic mail flows and potential slowdowns.

Java-enabled software on 3Com switches and routers actually does the work of managing the prioritized messages, sources say. A network management component to handle traffic from 3Com's Fast IP initiative is also forthcoming, sources added.

Sources said 3Com will make other key moves in the coming weeks, including the introduction of prestandard switching modules and adapter cards based on Gigabit Ethernet, the next-generation networking technology that speeds data at 1,000 mbps. The company will also give one umbrella name--CoreBuilder--to its three switching lines,the CELLplex, LANPlex, and ONcore families.