Sun Microsystems Inc has joined the general rush to enter the Gigabit Ethernet market, announcing it will be shipping its first products in the third quarter. But the Mountain View California- based company has turned a few heads with its choice of partner. Sun has gone to networking start-up Alteon Networks Inc, which has developed the new Gigabit Ethernet network interface card and server switch (CI No 3,105). In the nascent Gigabit Ethernet market this is a strong vote for San Jose, California-based Alteon, as Sun already has close ties with Granite Systems Inc, another one of the multitude of hopefuls in this space, which was acquired by Cisco Systems Inc last year (CI No 2,999). Granite Systems, was founded by Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim. Alteon claims that its approach to implementing Gigabit Ethernet switching products offloads tasks now handled by server CPUs which will mean that as well as increasing backbone transmission speeds, it will also increase server performance by between 20% and 40%. Alteon announced its Gigabit server and network interface card products, the AceSwitch and AceNIC, earlier in the year and the range include versions for Microsoft Windows NT, IBM’s AIX and Sun Solaris on SBus. Sun says its Gigabit Ethernet server switch will include interrupt coalescence, full duplex capabilities, Jumbo Frame, multi-homing and multiple VLAN support. The list price for Sun’s S-Bus card network adaptor is $3,000, and the switch is $10,000.