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3Com Corp is claiming that its CoreBuilder 9000 Asynchronous Transfer Mode and Gigabit Ethernet core network switch- marketed at the enterprise data center and backbone network- will be the fastest switch available when it starts shipping from April next year, at around four times the switching capacity of competitors’ products. 3Com is in the process of revamping its enterprise switch range, as it already has with the high end local area network switch and router, CoreBuilder 3500, announced in September. Both use a new routing architecture that 3Com calls the Flexible Intelligent Routing Architecture, implemented using specialist ASIC chips. The CoreBuilder 9000 supports both cell- based ATM and packet- based Gigabit Ethernet switching, with ATM capabilities due become available first, shipping in April followed by Gigabit Ethernet capabilities in June. 3Com will then be able to mix and match ATM and Ethernet on the same device, using new line cards, which will ship around August. The initial capacity of the switch will be 15Gbps, with the Ethernet version on 24Gbps. The plan is then to up the capacity to 70Gbs by year end. The 9000 supports up to 22 OC-12(622Mbps)ATM ports and up to 88 OC-3(155Mbps) ports or up to 126 Gigabit Ethernet ports. 3Com plans to extend the capacity of the switch by increasing the capacity of the plug in interface cards. The CoreBuilder 9000 chassis for ATM starts at $41,000 with a dual port ATM OC-12 module priced at $10,000. The chassis for the Gigabit Ethernet unit, due in June, starts at $35,000 with a dual port Gigabit Ethernet module priced at $4,000. Additional Ethernet (Layer 2 and Layer 3), FDDI fiber, wide area network access and multi- service modules will be available in the third quarter, although the company has given no details.

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CBR Staff Writer

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