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Cabletron speeds Net access

The Net gear maker debuts hardware that gives branch offices high-speed connections to central sites.

Cabletron Systems (CS) today announced new technology to tie existing local switching hardware to wide area networks, along with an increased focus on management software geared toward the telecommunications market.

Meanwhile, the company's stock plunged from yesterday's close of 45-3/4 in early trading as it revealed that it anticipates lower-than-expected revenue and profits for the June quarter. (See related story)

The networking announcements, made at the SuperComm '97 trade show this week in New Orleans, are intended to offer customers WAN (wide area network) options in LAN (local area network) switches, a function already available in products from rivals such as Cisco Systems.

The new technology comes from the recent acquisition of OASys. It continues the company's strategy to extend its Spectrum enterprise management software package to the telecommunications market. New software applications that tie in to the popular platform will enable management of legacy telecommunications gear under one administration umbrella.

New modules will tie the recently announced 2200 workgroup switch and 6000 wiring closet switch to high-speed WAN pipes such as T1, E1, and ISDN. The module supports connections over Frame Relay and leased lines, allowing branch offices to enjoy fast connections to a central site or headquarters.

Analysts said Cabletron needed to introduce the new features to keep pace in the industry. However, some analysts wondered how useful the connection options would be.

"While it makes sense for a medium-sized branch office or for a company that has made the strategic decision to go with Cabletron, it is fairly expensive if you compare it to a lower-cost router and a low-end hub switch," said Craig Johnson, principal analyst for Current Analysis.

Cabletron believes that the new connectivity options will allow remote offices to tie in to 2200s that will then connect to the 6000, which will serve as an aggregation engine for multiple workgroups. Up to ten T1 connections are supported in the 6000.

The combination of the new WAN modules with a 2200 switch will cost less than $10,000 and is shipping now, Cabletron said.