Cabletron, Ipsilon ally for IP switching technology

Cabletron Systems Inc. last week announced a "technology collaboration" agreement with Ipsilon Networks Inc. that will enable Cabletron to support Internet Protocol switching technology in the company'sSecureFast switching architecture.

Ipsilon bills IP switching as an alternative to traditional routers that offers greater performance at half the price. The technology combines intelligent IP routing technology with Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) hardware. Although the relatively new technology has so far reached only a few federal installations the agreement with Cabletron could push its growth thanks to the company's large installed base in the Defense Department and other agencies.

Gunnery Sgt. Donald Slade a senior network manager at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany Ga. said he would like to install IP switching within his Cabletron SecureFast network as soon as it becomes available. He said he believes IP switching will improve throughput and security on the command's network which will consist of more than 200 switches when fully installed. The network is based on Banyan Systems Inc.'s Vines network operating system.

Under the terms of the agreement Cabletron invested about $20 million in Ipsilon and will integrate Ipsilon's IP switching technology into its SecureFast SmartSwitch product line. Ipsilon will integrate Cabletron's SecureFast policy management and accounting services into its products and become a partner on Cabletron's Spectrum network management platform.

Larry Blair vice president of marketing at Ipsilon noted that the original development of the IP stack was driven by the federal government which he said is uniquely positioned to exploit the new technology. He added that Cabletron's prominence on federal contracts such as the Navy's PC LAN+ held by Electronic Data Systems Corp. and the Air Force's Unified Local-Area Network Architecture II also held by EDS will give federal customers easier access to Ipsilon products.

"This arrangement is a huge validation of IP switching technology " Blair said. "Hubs have given way to switches and IP switching is an alternative to routers. Given the need for these two technologies Cabletron is now well-positioned to capitalize on that opportunity in government accounts."

Trent Waterhouse Cabletron's program manager for LAN switching said the two companies will publicly demonstrate interoperability between IP switching and SecureFast next month. He said any SmartSwitch product with Fast Ethernet interfaces can now connect to Ipsilon's FAS1200 a gateway into the company's IP switch. Cabletron will eventually develop direct interfaces between SmartSwitch ATM access products and the ATM interfaces of Ipsilon's IP switch he said.

Waterhouse added that Cabletron will upgrade its offerings on federal contracts and to federal systems integrators to include IP switching technology as opportunities arise.

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