As briefly reported (CI No 3,087), IBM Corp, 3Com Corp and Cascade Communications Corp have announced that they will be developing IP Internet Protocol switching products that will interoperate and will also adhere to the Ipsilon Networks Inc products already available. The three companies say the alliance will lead to the implementation of end-to-end IP switching solutions across networks. The alliance will mean that the respective IP switching technologies – Fast IP from 3Com, MSS Multiprotocol Switched Services from IBM and IP Navigator from Cascade – will continue to be developed but that they will interoperate. First demonstrations of interoperability will be held at the Networld+ InterOp Networking Conference in May. The products will also adhere to Ipsilon’s IFMP Ipsilon Flow Management Protocol technology, which designates data streams for either routing or switching in the Ipsilon IP Switch and has been presented to the Internet Engineering Task Force as a proposed standard. Ipsilon also has support for its technology from Digital Equipment Corp and NCR Corp among others. 3Com, Cascade and IBM will each deliver IP products by integrating their respective IP solutions using industry standards, specifically: the Next Hop Resolution Protocol and IETF RFC 1953 for local and wide area IP switching integration; and the NHRP, IEEE 802.1Q, and the IEEE 802.1p for local to local area network IP switching integration. IBM and 3Com also announced they will offer IP switching in local area infrastructures in the form of client software for servers and desktop clients. The software will provide network intelligence about available paths through the network and will ensure that the fastest path through the network is always taken, once security policies are applied by devices, such as routers.