Cabletron adds ATM with ZeitNet buy

Cabletron Systems Inc. will offer federal customers a broader range of Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) products following its acquisition of ZeitNet Inc., a network access provider.

Timothy Hale, Cabletron's ATM program manager, said the acquisition will give his company access to ZeitNet's Z-ATM software stack, a series of modules that allow clients to communicate over ATM networks as well as existing local-area networks. Cabletron will also acquire ZeitNet's complete ATM adapter card solution to provide desktop-to-ATM

"We've been involved in all of these areas to one degree or another," Hale said, "but never to this extent."

He said Cabletron will continue to partner with Fore Systems Inc. to provide customers with midrange ATM switches for interconnecting LANs. Cabletron will also continue to offer its own switching products for connecting high-end ATM switches to the enterprise backbone.

Steve Yantz, an Army telecommunications specialist at the plans and programs office at Fort Knox, Ky., said Army Information Systems Command evaluations of ZeitNet products have been favorable. As a Cabletron user, Yantz said he looked forward to the acquisition.

'Deal With One Vendor'

"It gives us one vendor to provide the entire solution as we evolve to desktop ATM," he said, "so I don't have to worry about dealing with Cabletron for my hub, another company for network interface cards and somebody else for my edge switch. I can deal with one vendor, and I have a single point of contact when something goes wrong with the network."

Rudy Schmidt, director of Cabletron's Federal Systems Division, said the acquisition will allow Cabletron to nearly double its staff of 150 ATM engineers and tap into the talent pool in Silicon Valley, where ZeitNet is based. "We are getting over 100 ATM development engineers and access to Silicon Valley," Schmidt said. "These guys are really hot at developing ATM driver interfaces, which are key components."

Under the terms of the deal, announced last week, Cabletron will trade about 1.9 million shares of its company for all outstanding shares of ZeitNet. The merger was approved by both companies' boards of directors.

A spokesman for ZeitNet said his company, based in Santa Clara, Calif., does less than 10 percent of its business with the federal government. The 3-year-old company sells its products to federal users through resellers BTG Inc., Gemini Associates and Reliable Integration Services Inc.

Hale said Cabletron will continue to sell products through those channels.

A Cabletron spokeswoman said the company will likely add ZeitNet's products to its existing contracting vehicles. These include: the National Institutes of Health's Electronic Computer Store; the Navy's PC LAN+; the Air Force's Unified Local-Area Network Architecture II; the Army's Sustaining Base Information Services and Outside Cable Plant Rehabilitation II; the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Office Automation for Veterans Affairs; and the General Services Administration schedules held by I-NET Inc., Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

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