Internetworking, firewalls, videoconferencing in demand

LAN/WAN internetworking Internet firewalls and videoconferencing products are among the best sellers on the government's network-oriented contracts according to integrators and resellers who reported a heavy sales volume during the summer buying season.

A recent International Data Corp. study showed that networking-related products including Internet tools and network security are generating the greatest interest in the government said Steve LeCompte vice president of IDC Government Market Services. LeCompte said a governmentwide shift from host- or PC-based networks to those built around wide-area networks was helping to fuel product demand. "There is a significant shift in architectures within government towards more of a WAN-centric architecture " he said.Industry executives said General Services Administration schedule sales for networking products are growing rapidly. But agencies - particularly the Defense Department and the military services - are still making significant purchases through indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contracts.

Barry Morris vice president of federal systems at Bay Networks Inc. projected that his firm's GSA sales will more than double. In its June-ended fiscal year Bay Networks did $11 million in GSA business. This fiscal year Morris predicted sales of $25 million to $30 million. But he added that sales on IDIQ contracts such as the Air Force's Unified Local-Area Network Architecture II (ULANA II) and the Army's Outside Cable Rehabilitation II will increase 15 to 20 percent over last year's volumes.

Videoconferencing Sales Strong

Federal networking needs are diverse but videoconferencing products are one key area of interest vendors said. Benjamin Wells III a communications analyst with Electronic Data Systems Corp. said buyers are showing strong interest in the isochronous Ethernet-based videoconferencing gear offered on the company's ULANA II contract.

Earlier this summer EDS added Incite's isochronous Ethernet hubs Zydacron's codec and National Semiconductor's isochronous Ethernet network interface cards to ULANA II. Wells said the phone has been ringing "nonstop" since he demonstrated the technology in July at Ramstein Air Force Base Germany.The isochronous Ethernet solution offers the bandwidth to tackle telemedicine and distance-learning applications he said. Another advantage is that the solution can be integrated with customers' PBX equipment so "they don't have to rip out existing infrastructure."

Bay Networks' Morris reported a demand for desktop video. The company markets multimedia switches that can support applications such as videoconferencing and direct-TV broadcasts.

Bay Networks' Multimedia Workgroup Switch a 25 megabit/sec Asynchronous Transfer Mode product the Centillion 100 switch and the 28200 Modular Ethernet Switch all support desktop video and are available on the GSA schedule among other vehicles.

Security Products Gain Ground

On EDS' PC LAN+ contract with the Navy Internet firewalls are getting attention. The company carries Secure Computer Corp.'s Sidewinder firewall product which EDS is beginning to sell with Compaq Computer Corp.'s ProSignia hardware according to Peter Buck the PC LAN+ program manager with EDS. A one- to 100-user license for the Sidewinder firewall bundled with a Compaq ProSignia 300 server and one day of installation and training is priced at $15 900.

Network security products also are selling on BTG Inc.'s Integration for Command Control Communications Computers and Intelligence (IC4I) contract with the Air Force. Cal Shintani director of business development with BTG said the Air Force has purchased WheelGroup's NetRanger intrusion detection product. On the internetworking front BTG has found that routers switches and hubs are among the best-selling products on the company's Electronic Computer Store (ECS) contract with the National Institutes of Health. So far the Navy is the largest buyer on ECS but the contract has attracted a range of federal customers who are pursuing products to integrate LANs and WANs. "We're selling a significant amount of Cisco [Systems Inc. equipment] " reported Gary Brown director of sales at BTG. LAN/WAN gear from Bay Networks Cabletron Systems Inc. and at the low end 3Com Corp. are also selling Brown said.

8(a) reseller The Presidio Corp. said its biggest sellers are Fast Ethernet and switched Ethernet along with Internet products particularly firewalls. Switched Ethernet gives users improved throughput and segmentation of their Ethernet networks said Ralph Cruikshank vice president of operations at Presidio.

The firm sells Check Point Software Technologies' Firewall-1 product.

IDIQs Add Network Gear

A host of new internetworking products have been added to the IC4I contract held by Cordant SRA International and BTG. Bob Donovan director of IC4I sales and marketing at Cordant said the company added about 1 000 new products to the contract since April 30 percent of which are networking-based.Some recent additions include Cabletron's MMAC and MMAC Plus hubs 3Com's SuperStack hubs and NetBuilder routers Cisco's 4000 and 7000 routers and Catalyst switch and Bay Networks' Centillion ATM switch and BayStack stackable hubs. On IC4I Bay Networks Cabletron and Cisco products are selling at the best rate.

Meanwhile SRA plans to add Cisco and 3Com's full product lines as well as products from Bay Networks Cabletron and ATM vendor Fore Systems to IC4I. While the company adds new products to the contract every week these companies "are a priority " said Jocelyn Hsu the operations director for IC4I at SRA.On the governmentwide Supermini contract Litton/PRC Inc. also is reporting activity for LAN/WAN products. Jim Stanley manager for systems engineering on the pact said routers from Cisco are the best-selling network gear on the contract. PRC is selling Cisco's 2500 and 4000 routers along with some 7000 Series products. Bay Networks' 2000 and 3000 Series hubs Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView network management product and FTP Software Inc.'s TCP/IP suite are among the other products in demand Stanley said.

Products recently added to the Defense Department's Telecommunications Modernization Project (Tempo) contract held by Bell Atlantic include Fore Systems' ASX-1000 ATM switch Xylan's Pizza Switch 10 and upgrades to the Omni-9 and Omni-5 switches Cisco's 750 and 200 Series routers Access Server's 5200 Series Catalyst 2800 and 2900 and LightStream 1010 Series among others.

Integrated Services Digital Network products are selling "extremely well" off Tempo said Randy Lucas director of military programs at Bell Atlantic.

Telos Corp. has broadened its product offering on the Army's Small Multiuser Computer II pact to include the Cisco 7500 Series of routers and the 2500 4500-M and 4700 switches. Also added were Catalyst Ethernet switches the Lightstream ATM switch 5100 Access server and network management software. The company plans to add UB Networks Inc.'s GeoLAN hubs and the Cabletron MMAC-8 concentrator and Micro MMAC among others. "Ethernet switches and midrange routers are hot " said David Balleweg the program manager for SMC II at Telos.

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