A small California firm called XLNT Designs is among the many Gigabit Ethernet adventurers sprouting up on the networking technology landscape, but this company adds a new wrinkle: an FDDI-to-Gigabit-Ethernet migration strategy.
Expanding from its traditional strength in LAN (local area network) switches and FDDI (fiber-optic data distribution interface), XLNT will incorporate this expertise into a new Gigabit Ethernet-capable chassis currently dubbed "Velocity."
The rate of FDDI adoption may decrease as Gigabit Ethernet gains momentum in the next two years. XLNT wants to ease the migration hassles and stake a claim in what is expected to be a huge market, according to Roger Moyers, vice president of business development at XLNT.
Dataquest has predicted the Gigabit Ethernet market will grow to $3 billion by the year 2000. Other estimates are more conservative. Actual Gigabit Ethernet products, for now, are few and far between, but the large-bandwidth technology is expected to gain converts quickly as a standard is flushed out over the next 12 to 18 months.
The XLNT product will include support for Ethernet, Fast Ethernet and FDDI as well as a Gigabit Ethernet uplink module that will comply with the upcoming standard. The Gigabit Ethernet module will also include high-resiliency features typically associated with FDDI technology.
Hot-swappable modules, redundant power supplies and frame translation capabilities from FDDI to Ethernet are also included. It supports ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), Token Ring and remote monitoring technologies as well.
The XLNT Velocity product will debut at Networld+Interop in Las Vegas next May, with availability due shortly after. The company will price the new switch at less than $6,500 per port for FDDI, less than $750 per port for 10/100 Ethernet, and less than $3,750 per port for Gigabit Ethernet with repeater features.
By January of 1998, the company expects to drive down the per-port costs of Gigabit Ethernet to less than $1,500.
Starting in November, the company will also form the Gigabit Ethernet Education Council, an open forum for discussion about Gigabit Ethernet network migration. The organization is open to vendors, resellers and users.