Codenoll to unveil fiber-based Fast Ethernet hubs

Codenoll Technology Corp. this week will unveil a new line of fiber-optic Fast Ethernet hubs at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's TechNet '96 show in Washington, D.C. The company will also highlight ADC Telecommunications' recent purchase of 50 percent of Codenoll's common stock.

Codenoll is a supplier of about $3 million worth of fiber-optic Ethernet hubs, adapters and cabling. The company has about 200,000 nodes installed in the government, said Michael Coden, chief executive officer of Codenoll. The company's government users include the Navy, Air Force, Army and the Agriculture Department.

Codenoll's new product line, dubbed CodeNet-Centaur, consists of a six-port Ethernet switch with 200 megabit/sec throughput, four 100 megabit/sec 8-port Fast Ethernet repeater hubs, network interface cards with PCI bus interfaces, transceivers for workstations and a new family of 10 megabit/sec active Ethernet hubs, which can be connected with the CodeNet-Centaur switch and Fast Ethernet hubs. The active hubs come with plug-in modules for 10Base-T, 10Base-FL, 10Base-FP, Ethernet bridging, SNMP management and Token Ring.

The products are available now and will be sold off the General Services Administration schedule and contracts, including the Navy's PC LAN+, the Air Force's Unified Local-Area Network Architecture II and the Navy's Tactical Advanced Computer-4.

Codenoll's use of fiber optics differentiates it from other hub vendors, Coden said. "We're unique in that, unlike the hubs Bay Networks and Cabletron sell, our hub is purely passive," he said. "It's optical fibers fused together in a steel box with metal connectors and without electronics," he said. "It generates no heat and is an inch-and-a-half thick, so you can place it anywhere. This is required for shipboard use." The Navy's major ships use the company's products, Coden added.

ADC's Stake

The acquisition of 50 percent of the company by ADC, an $800 million company, will fill out ADC's product line and give Codenoll capital for product development. ADC has users throughout the government, including the Navy, and sells direct from its local office in Herndon, Va.

"We view ourselves as a full-solution provider from access products to large-scale telephony transmissions systems," said Robert Switz, vice president and chief financial officer of ADC. "Codenoll's technology matches well with some of our LAN products and also has a good reputation in the government. They have contacts and relationships in certain agencies that they will be able to introduce us to where we don't have a presence."

The Navy would be one agency where Codenoll's presence would extend ADC's federal reach.

As for Codenoll, the ADC relationship will provide the company with new customer prospects.

The CodeNet-Centaur products, for example, are being targeted toward current Codenoll and ADC users as upgrades. Users of Codenoll's 10 megabit/sec passive fiber-optic Ethernet products and ADC's Fibremux Crossbow 10Base-T and 10Base-FL active-hub Ethernet products can easily upgrade to the 100 megabit/sec products, Coden said. Fibremux users will be able to upgrade via a plug-in module.

Switz said it is likely that ADC will acquire more Codenoll stock. "It's not uncommon for ADC to start off in a partnership and move that up," provided that the relationship is beneficial, Switz said.

There is no provision preventing ADC from acquiring additional stake in the company, Coden said.

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