Cisco Systems Inc says it will support a new high-speed bandwidth aggregation technology for connecting local area network switches, routers and servers together to smooth upgrades for switched networks toward Gigabit Ethernet implementations. According to the company, networks will be able to be scaled in increments of 200 Mbps, full duplex, up through multi-Gigabit speeds, as part of the migration to Gigabit Ethernet networks. Cisco’s implementation is called Fast EtherChannel. Bandwidth aggregation uses multiple, standard, full-duplex IEEE 802.3 Fast Ethernet links between pairs of switches, servers or routers, and establishes a scaleable ‘fat pipe’ to carry higher aggregate data rates than any single link. Configured as parallel point-to-point Fast Ethernet links, users can choose the bandwidth they require up to 800Mbps or more, by selecting the number of links to dedicate as a Fast Ethernet trunk. Cisco says it will provide Fast EtherChannel options for its Catalyst 5000 family of local network switches and for the Cisco 7500 router series with first products to become available in the second half of 1997. The Gigabit Ethernet offering for both the Catalyst 5000 family and Cisco’s high-end routers will not be released until 1998. Cisco says it is working with a number of companies to ensure interoperable FastChannel connections including Adaptec, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, NetFrame, Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems and Xircom.