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November 2, 1999

3Com CEO Unveils E-Network Strategy

By CBR Staff Writer

By Jo Maitland

3Com Corp’s CEO Eric Benhamou addressed customers, analysts and the press Tuesday on how the company plans to tackle the burgeoning e-commerce market through its e-network strategy. Benhamou talked for nearly 40 minutes, repeating the company’s new mantra of application support, access and availability for corporate intranets, extranets and internet connectivity.

What this means in real terms for 3Com customers is several enhancements to the CoreBuilder 9000 central office switch, policy management software for mixed vendor networks, including Cisco products; and 1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet technology for existing copper-based LANs. Benhamou announced contract wins with AT&T which will be deploying 3Com’s Pathbuilder VPN remote access platform; and US-based carrier, USExpress which is implementing the CoreBuilder 9000 to connect 5,000 computers onboard its service trucks.

3Com has added a third chassis to the Corebuilder product line with layer 2 and multilayer switching which it claims increases the switches capability to nine times the performance of competing products. The 9000 can now switch 40 million packets per second of data through the network, said a company spokesperson. With our competitors’ products, users are forced to play Russian roulette deciding which of their platforms to use, but you know with 3Com, the CoreBuilder family is at the center of our strategy, said Edgar Masri, 3Com’s senior VP of business systems. He added that the CoreBuilder line can now be deployed in all areas of the network including the wiring closet, server farm and data center. The company has also added a broad set of services to the platform including LAN telephony, voice gateways and policy services. Future enhancements include partnerships with load-balancing companies for integration into the 9000 and a Windows 2000 blade, to be revealed early next year.

3Com also addressed its plans for e-network management which involves a partnership with IPHighway to develop standards-based software for prioritizing e-commerce applications over the network. The two companies intend to roll out 3Com Transcend policy management software next year, which they say will ensure security, user-based policy and prioritization from desktops through the LAN and WAN over 3Com and Cisco equipment. Other vendors’ equipment will be brought into the fold as 3Com and IPHighway start shipping the software next year. The Transcend system is expected to be available in the second quarter of next year for Windows 2000 and Sun Solaris platforms. Pricing was not released.

Last of all Eric Benhamou outlined a three-phase strategy for businesses planning to deploy Gigabit Ethernet technology over their existing copperwire based local area networks. The phases include: customer consulting services, 1000BASE-T compliant SuperStack II systems and network interface cards, available in the first half of next year.

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