3Com ships terabit switch, TippingPoint system

3Com Inc. announced the availability of its 8800 family of terabit-class switches here at the CeBIT trade show in Germany on Thursday.

Based on technology developed through 3Com's joint venture with China-based Huawei Technologies Co., the switches are the most powerful from 3Com to date, executives here said.

Marlboro, Mass.-based 3Com hopes the products will strengthen its position in the enterprise market, which it pulled back from several years ago to focus more on small and midsize businesses (SMB). It will compete with Foundry Networks Inc., Force10 Networks Inc. and Enterasys Networks Inc., among others.

"3Com is no longer an SMB player; we're no longer a niche player," said Pax Andersson, vice president and general manager of 3Com Europe Ltd., heralding 3Com's return to enterprise-class switching.

The 8800 products can scale to support 10,000 users or more, with up to 24 10Gbit ports and 288Gbit wirespeed ports, as well as a 1.44Tbit/sec. backplane, according to 3Com.

The products come in three sizes. Starter Kits, including a chassis, fabric, power supply and fan, start at $26,000 for the smaller seven-slot system and range up to $36,000 for the full-capacity 14-slot system, 3Com said.

Several customers are using the products currently, including the U.K. Ministry of Defence, Sonopress GmbH, Telekom Malaysia Berhad and Covenant Health, 3Com said.

Also at CeBIT, 3Com announced the availability of its TippingPoint 5000E intrusion-prevention system for blocking viruses, spyware, denial-of-service attacks and other malicious traffic. It has a list price of $200,000, executives here said.

The 5000E can perform total packet inspection and prevention at 5Gbit/sec. with real-world traffic, according to 3Com. The company closed its acquisition of TippingPoint Technologies Inc. in January.

Later this year, 3Com will introduce a blade version of the TippingPoint system that will be integrated with its switch products, combining switching and intrusion prevention in one unit, said Paul Couturier, the vice president in charge of the 3Com's TippingPoint subsidiary.

The division is also working on TippingPoint systems for SMBs, he said.

3Com released 160 new products in 2004 and will up that number to 240 in 2005, according to Andersson. The new products will include several edge and high-end switches and a very-low-end, easy-to-use product that lets smaller businesses set up a voice-over-IP network, he said.

CeBIT began Thursday and runs until Wednesday of next week.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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