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Justifying its acquisition of Frame Relay specialist Netlink Inc for $158m in shares (CI No 3,009), Rochester, New Hampshire-based Cabletron Systems Inc says the deal gives it in-house Frame Relay expertise, where it currently relies on equipment sourced from Cisco Systems Inc. While Gerry Carroll, a product marketing manager, says that the Cisco kit will still be marketed to customers where it is the best fit or a customer requests it, the Netlink deal effectively seems to mark the end of that relationship. Netlink markets three Frame Relay access devices, a Frame Relay switch, and a HP OpenView-based network management application. Netlink is to remain at its Framingham, Massachusetts headquarters, and will be run as a stand-alone business unit with all 80 Netlink employees being retained. Carroll says that the most likely plan is that products emanating from the unit will carry a Cabletron Netlink label, although this has yet to be definitively decided. An unspecified number of Cabletron engineers will be called in to undertake the necessary integration work between the Netlink and Cabletron products. Cabletron has traditionally been critical of its rivals’ policies of acquiring technologies by buying up other companies. However, Carroll defends the latest move by saying that unlike other networking acquisitions – and he points to 3Com Corp’s takeover of Chipcom Corp – we’re enhancing our product set without any cross-over.

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