WASHINGTON--Networking in our nation's capital used to mean an exchange of business cards, a handshake, talking shop over coffee.
Now it also brings to mind broadband access gear, switches, multiplexers, FRADS (Frame Relay Access Devices), and other such complex networking hardware that will be on display this week at ComNet '97.
The annual ComNet networking trade show used to flow from the well-oiled business relationship between computer companies and the federal government. The show has since evolved from those market-specific roots to embrace the booming networking industry as a whole, particularly those products focused on providing wide area network (WAN) connectivity for corporations.
3Com will use the ComNet stage to unveil a Virtual Private Network (VPN) strategy for networks based on the Internet Protocol (IP), the dominant Net standard. The company will include support for the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) in its remote access gear to allow companies to establish "virtual" networks over the public network, according to sources. Security features to make use of the Internet for networking will be part of the announcement.
Bay Networks also will focus on its remote access capabilities at the show, debuting a remote-access module for its 5000 MSX switching chassis, so that remote access to the network can be incorporated to the same box as a network's switching capabilities.
Absent from this year's ComNet will be much of the hype and hyperbole related to cutting-edge technologies such as Gigabit Ethernet, a new kind of pipe that is currently in the latter stages of the standards process. Expect this spring's Networld+Interop show to be the forum for Gigabit Ethernet strategies and rollouts.
Here's a small sampling of other ComNet announcements forthcoming this week:
The ComNet show opens tomorrow and continues through Thursday. Featured keynote speakers include former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes and Cisco Systems President and CEO John Chambers.