Nortel arms anti-Cisco guns with Accelar

Nortel Networks yesterday announced the local release of its Accelar 8000 backbone routing switch, simultaneously attacking its market space rival Cisco.

The product is designed to offer enterprise users combined voice, data and video functionality, in addition to support for high-end applications such as SAP R/3 and call centres.

Additional product features include IP scaling to 200 million packets per second (mpps), and the ability to classify and prioritise data packets at wirespeed.

However, Nortel executives used two slides in the course of a presentation to media yesterday to directly compare the Accelar 8000 with Cisco's Catalyst offerings.

In one slide, the executives claimed its product consolidates the number of network layers required in the enterprise, compensating for the "technical limitations" of Cisco's Catalyst series.

Mick Regan, a Cisco systems engineer, agreed with Nortel's claim it has the ability to consolidate network layers.

"[But] the reason they are saying that is because they can't do it," he said, claiming Cisco's has wider expertise across all the network layers.

The other slide predicted Cisco's Catalyst 6500 will only reach 150mpps by 2000, while claiming the Accelar 8000 will reach 200mpps by late 1999.

However, Regan disagreed, reporting Cisco ships 16mpps now and is expecting a rapid increase in speed.

"It will be at 256 [mpps] within 12 months," Regan told Network World Today.

First scheduled for release in February this year, the company expects general availability in Australia from April this year through the "normal distribution channels".

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