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January 26, 1998

3COM SPEEDS UP ITS SUPERSTACK LINE

By CBR Staff Writer

Data networking giant 3Com Corp has announced upgrades to its SuperStack range of Ethernet networking equipment up to the high speed networking protocols Fast and Gigabit Ethernet. Following on from the upgrade of the core switches the CoreBuilder 3500 and 9000 products to Gigabit in its range last year, 3Com will ship new Network Interface Controllers, hubs, workgroup switches, and backbone switches, which are upgraded to the higher speeds. 3Com is doing well in the market, holding an estimated 37% share in the low end Local Area Networking market, and a 47% share of the world’s NIC market. The Fast Etherlink XL is an auto-sensing 10/100 NIC, with support for the new remote boot protocols, and Microsoft’s new PC specifications. The SuperStack II 500 hub is a new auto-sensing 10/100 Ethernet hub, stackable with old 3Com hubs, and the hubs can be stacked to an eight hub 208 port maximum. For evolution of workgroups from managed hubs to switched networks, it is shipping two switches the SuperStack II 1100 and 3300, with up to 24 ports of 10/100 switching. 3Com reckons that it has got the price level on the hubs to a financial sweet spot at $79 per port, and similarly the switches at $179 per port. But the really interesting development is its Gigabit Ethernet switches, the SuperStack II 3900, with 24 ports of 10/100 Ethernet and three Gigabit uplink ports. The final addition is the SuperStack II 9300, a 12 port Gigabit Ethernet backbone switch, which is priced at $1,249 per gigabit port. 3Com claims that the switches are the first to have full centralized network management through its TranscendWare software, and support for the new traffic prioritization Ethernet protocol IEEE 802.1p, and VLAN support through 801.q, with all the management available through device based web servers. The NIC, Hub and 1100 switch products are shipping now, and the 3300 is due in February, and the two gigabit switches ship in March.

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