Cisco cuts switch prices

Reductions come with the introduction of four new modules for the popular Catalyst 5000 line of switches.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) continues to push the density envelope in Ethernet-based switching.

Targeted at growing LANs (local area networks), four new modules for the popular Catalyst 5000 line of switches will debut just as the company gets ready to roll out plans for high-speed gigabit networking.

One new module will add 48 ports of 10-mbps connections and another adds 24 ports of 10/100-mbps auto-sensing capability. The new cards will cost $7,495 and $9,995, respectively. The 24-port card will debut next month, while the rest of the new offerings are available now.

The company also announced new 1900 and 2820 Enterprise Edition models for $99 per port that include advanced functions such as virtual LAN capabilities and Web-based management functions.

In conjunction with the new functions, Cisco announced price cuts of up to 50 percent for existing models in its Catalyst 1900 and 2820 Ethernet-based switch lines.

Separately, Cisco announced a partnership with network provider Qwest Communications (QWST). Under the terms of the deal, the two will combine to build a multimedia network based on IP (Internet protocol), the dominant means of communication across the Net. Qwest has also pledged to deploy Cisco's next-generation 12000 series routers across its emerging layout, currently focused on Western states.