SAN MATEO (01/28/2000) - 3Com Corp. this week at the ComNet 2000 show in Washington unveiled the next steps in its eNetworks voice/data convergence strategy, first revealed in November. As part of the announcement, eNetworks has been expanded beyond its original focus on enterprises to include carriers and service providers.
3Com also announced the first set of CommWorks offerings for service providers and revealed plans for its Total Control 2000 access platform.
The CommWorks architecture focusing on IP telephony was originally announced in September. It will expand to allow service providers to deliver remote access, IP telephony, wireless data, and cable access over a converged network, 3Com officials said. Phase 1, including fax-over-IP, Internet call waiting and Internet calling cards, will be available in April.
3Com's new Total Control 2000 access platform boosts the number of subscribers served from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, company officials said, although no further details were given. Specific product announcements related to Total Control 2000 are expected later in the year.
Despite being late to a game that is already in full swing with competitors such as Nortel Networks, Cisco Systems, and Lucent Technologies, 3Com is positioning itself well, according to analysts.
"They are not first to market, certainly. But what will define [3Com] in this space is their partner program and their ability to interoperate with a variety of vendors' core networking equipment," said Jennifer Pigg, executive vice president at the Yankee Group, in Boston. "They will be able to leverage a lot of their international partnerships to bring them into the accounts."
The trend for carriers to adopt multivendor networks is also an advantage for 3Com, analysts said.
"3Com is recognizing that carriers are no longer aligning themselves with only one or two key vendors," said Laurie Gooding, a senior analyst at Cahners In-Stat, a market research company in Chicago. "The overall opportunity is becoming one of multivendor networks."
"On the core side [of the network] it is difficult to share space with the incumbent. [But] the carriers are much more willing to take a multiple vendor access device approach," Pigg said.
Analysts said that within the next few months 3Com will announce several service provider customers for its equipment and services.
3Com Corp., in Santa Clara, Calif., is at www.3com.com.
The urge to converge
3Com has a three-phase plan for its CommWorks Enhanced Services.
* Phase 1: fax-over-IP, Internet call waiting, interactive voice response, Internet calling cards* Phase 2: universal messaging, Web-based call centers, Centrex services* Phase 3: directory services, voice VPN, Web conferencing