Cisco Systems Inc has forced IBM Corp into a fatal compromise over its fat and expensive mainframe front-end processors. Cisco started eating IBM’s lunch with its high-end routers, which did much of the work of the 374X processors at a fraction of the price, and IBM has now come out with its answer to Cisco in the form of the Nways 2216 Multi-access Connector Model 400, which is scheduled to ship this month. Users will be able to connect local network segments and branch offices directly to the mainframe through the 2216 while still achieving the primary aim of off- loading networking functions from the mainframe. IBM claims it cost-effectively provides up to 64 highspeed wide area connections and shares routing code with other IBM products. The 2216 switch with routing software connects to the host over a high-speed Escon channel. IBM is not forgetting its front-end processors and says the 3746 Multiprotocol Controller Models 900 and 950 have added high-speed functions with nearly three times the communications capacity at a sixth the cost for Internet Protocol and High Performance Routing connections. It is also designed to provide a non-disruptive path for SNA users to networks using TCP/IP. The 8260 Campus Backbone Hub is enhanced to include new wide area, Asynchronous Transfer Mode and switching modules, new adapter boards and extended protocol support. The Super 8260 Campus Backbone Hub is billed as a powerful Asynchronous Transfer Mode switch for campus networks with 622Mbps media speed switching.