In spite of Cisco Systems Inc snapping up Granite Systems Inc for $220m last year to take it into the Gigabit Ethernet market (CI No 2,991), it is 3Com Corp that has become the first of the major networking vendors to launch its Gigabit Ethernet range. Gigabit Ethernet has, so far, been the preserve of the smaller networking switch manufacturers but it was clearly never going to stay that way. Santa Clara-based 3Com claims that its Gigabit Ethernet switches and network interface boards will provide the first core-to-edge Gigabit Ethernet system, despite not start shipping until the third quarter. The company set out details of its first Gigabit Ethernet switch as well as upgrade modules for existing switches in its CoreBuilder range, and a network interface board for personal computer-based servers. The Gigabit products are primarily aimed at connecting workgroups and servers together and also on to Asynchronous Transfer Mode backbones. The new SuperStack II Switch 9000 SX is a standalone switch to provide multi-Gigabit bandwidth aggregation of Fast Ethernet and Ethernet workgroups. For existing SuperStack II Switch 3000 users there is the SuperStack II Switch 9000 Ethernet Module SX. Both are due to ship in the third quarter. 3Com also has a Gigabit Ethernet module for its CoreBuilder 5000 and an add-in board for CoreBuilder 7000 high-function switch. The CoreBuilder 5000 Gigabit Ethernet Module aids wiring closet migration to Gigabit Ethernet and is not due to ship until the first quarter next year, the CoreBuilder 7800 Gigabit Ethernet Interface Card enables coexistence of switched Gigabit Ethernet and ATM backbones within 3Com CoreBuilder 7000 switches. For the edge of the network, 3Com has announced the Gigabit EtherLink PCI Network Interface Card. Though primarily designed to deliver the companies Fast IP – 3Com’s own brand of IP switching – the boards are being pushed as able to deliver Gigabit performance through the combination of techniques. 3Com says this will begin shipping in the last quarter this year. According to 3Com, although it will be adding Gigabit Ethernet capabilities accross its switches and interface board range, unlike Cisco, it has no plans to put the technology into its router lines. The SuperStack 9000 is priced at $20,000 with the module for the 3000 costing $3,000. The Gigabit Ethernet Module for the CoreBuilder 5000 is to cost $5,000. The 7800 NIC is priced at $18,000. No prices have yet been given for the PCI Network Interface Card.