Bay Networks Inc is claiming its latest technology has created a new network market – routing switches. In effect, it actually looks more like Bay has joined the Internet Protocol Switching party with its first offering. According to the company, its Switch Node routing switch delivers wire-speed IP/IPX forwarding at layer two switch latencies. The Switch Node delivers wire- speed switching and low latencies at both layer two and layer three and forwarding at approximately 1 million packets per second. Targeted at campus environments with heavy subnet to subnet traffic, it is interoperable with other vendors’ products and can be dropped into an existing network to provide an immediate boost in performance, says Bay. Bay’s Switch Node routing switch will be used primarily to accelerate Internet Protocol traffic through routers and to front-end existing routers in a collapsed backbone architecture, offloading the over-taxed router and delivering wire-speed IP and IPX forwarding. Switch Node is a five-slot modular system with one slot reserved for the central processing unit module that performs route computations and other control management functions. The other four slots are available for switching modules, which will initially support 10 BASE-T, 10 BASE-FL and 100Mbps Fast Ethernet. The Switch Node’s distributed layer three engine makes switching decisions through the assistance of a dedicated on-board lookup RISC engine and ASIC forwarding subsystem, integrated on each of the Switch Node modules. The Switch Node modules use a dedicated 1.2Gbps data path, separate from the 1.2Gbps control path which is dedicated to control and management communications. Switch Node includes Bay’s IP AutoLearn capability which automatically learns and build its IP forwarding address table for locally attached subnets without having to run a routing protocol. It also enables transparent integration into existing router networks, regardless of the routing protocol in use. And, with IP AutoLearn, users can front- end existing routers with the Switch Node routing switch and get plug-and-play layer three performance, without having to reconfigure the network routers or end stations. The Switch Node is also capable of forwarding traffic between different locally attached virtual local area networks or subnets using layer three addressing information. A five-slot chassis Switched Node model is priced at $2,500; a central processing unit module priced costs $5,500, including 16Mb memory, 16-port 10BASE-T switching module $7,500, eight-port 10BASE-FL switching module priced at $7,500 and two-port 1OOBase-TX switching module priced at $6,500. All of the models are expected to begin shipping in May.