3Com ships terabit switch, TippingPoint system

3Com has released its first terabit-class switch and its TippingPoint intrusion prevention product.

3Com 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's Huawei Technologies, the switches are the most powerful from 3Com to date, executives here said.

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 medium-size businesses (SMBs). It will compete with Foundry Networks, Force10 Networks and Enterasys Networks, 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, heralding 3Com's return to enterprise-class switching.

The 8800 products can scale to support 10,000 users or more, with up to 24 10G-bit ports and 288 gigabit wirespeed ports, and a 1.44 terabit-per-second backplane, according to 3Com.

The products come in three sizes. Starter Kits, including a chassis, fabric, power supply and fan, start at US$26,000 for the smaller seven-slot system and range up to US$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, Germany's Sonopress GmbH, Telekom Malaysia and Covenant Health of the U.S., 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 US$200,000, executives here said.

The 5000E can perform total packet inspection and prevention at 5G bits per second with real-world traffic, according to 3Com. The company closed its acquisition of TippingPoint 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 VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) network, he said.

Cebit began Thursday and runs until Wednesday next week.

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