Cabletron offers ATM line

Cabletron Systems Inc. last week announced a set of Asynchronous Transfer Mode products that address the needs of workgroup departmental and backbone network managers. The products will become available on federal contracts by February.

The products include the SmartCell ZX-250 family of ATM switches for workgroups and local-area network connectivity and the MMAC-Plus high-capacity switch for large enterprises. Company officials are touting their ATM product line as the widest in the industry covering desktop-level requirements all the way up to carrier-class switches running at speeds up to 75.6 gigabit/sec.

"Cabletron has put a lot into its ATM offering " said Tim Hale the company's ATM product manager. "As a result we've gotten a lot out of it in terms of a comprehensive solution."

Although availability is still some time away federal users will be able to order the new switches later this month from General Services Administration schedule contracts or contracts such as the Air Force's Unified Local-Area Network Architecture II the Navy's PC LAN+ the Army's Sustaining Base Information Services the Department of Veterans Affairs' Nationwide Office Automation for the VA and the National Institutes of Health's Electronic Computer Store a Cabletron spokeswoman said. The switches will ship within three months she said.

Samuel Alunni senior research analyst for networking at The Aberdeen Group Boston said the breadth added to Cabletron's ATM product line by these new products will help users narrow the gap between their private networks and public communications services. "They're looking at bridging between customer premise equipment and the public network " Alunni said. "It's an important trend in the industry and they are right in touch with it."

Byron Young Cabletron's product line manager for ATM switching said the ZX-250 family of switches was designed to lower prices to the point at which the switches could be deployed affordably in production networks. Although the company has not settled on final pricing Young said the switches will start at $7 995. Including the additional cost of port modules the average system will cost less than $11 000 he said.

Young said the low cost of the switches ought to make them more attractive to federal users. "A couple of our national lab customers told us they had magic numbers that they had to keep the cost of the systems below " he said. "This pricing worked out very well for that class of customer."

The ZX-250 switches will include 15 ports with a capacity of 155 megabit/sec each. The base ZX-250 model was designed for use in workgroups on applications such as computer animation or small-scale medical imaging Young said. The ZX-250i will be installed at the departmental level for LAN interconnection and the ZX-250r features redundant power to ensure the quality of mission-critical communications he said.

Among other features the switches include built-in LAN emulation Internet Protocol-ATM clients and servers and call management controls that allow managers to specify minimum and maximum cell rates to ensure that users do not over- or underutilize bandwidth.

Hale said the MMAC-Plus SmartCell switch can be configured to support up to 14 5.4-gigabit/sec ATM switch modules. Its maximum configuration could accommodate up to 16 OC-3 ports and cost less than $4 000 per port he said.

He added that the SmartCell switch is geared to the needs of extremely large ATM installations encompassing different users and network types.

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