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Intel readies Fast Ethernet gear

Capping the busiest quarter in Intel's Network Products division history, the company plans to ship a new hub that supports Fast Ethernet speeds.

Capping the busiest quarter in its history, Intel's (INTC) Network Products division will next week introduce a new Ethernet-based stackable hub intended for workgroups migrating to Fast Ethernet speeds.

Intel's networking push is an extension of the company's core business--building the engines that run PCs. The company wants to speed up adoption of higher speed technologies so its microprocessors can take advantage of the bandwidth. Intel officials believe the new Express 10/100 Stackable Hub will serve as an optimal connection point for PCs and servers.

The new hub completes the Network Product's division so-called avalanche by offering customers a shared box that can move data at both Ethernet and Fast Ethernet speeds in 12 and 24-port versions. The product can also be stacked, acting as a single unit that provides connectivity for both Ethernet pipes.

Classic Ethernet transmits data at speeds of 10 mbps (megabits per second). Fast Ethernet moves at 100 mbps. Many Ethernet-based LANs (local area networks) have reached network capacity using 10 mbps and are moving to the faster Ethernet pipe. There is a lot of hype surrounding an emerging Gigabit Ethernet standard as well, which moves data at 1,000 mbps, but most observers believe this next-generation Ethernet technology will be used to tie LANs together in a building or campus setting or as a high-speed connector between server computers.

The new hub will be available next week. The 12-port version costs $1,525; the 24-port version is priced at $2,375, or about $100 per port. Intel will add modules to the product in June that will ease management via SNMP (simple network management protocol) and extend the distance of a hub connection with fiber.