Cabletron offers ATM

Cabletron Systems Inc. last month expanded its product line into the local-area networking arena with the release of its SmartCell 6A000 Asynchronous Transfer Mode switch module.

Used in conjunction with the company's SmartSwitch 6000 the module allows users to aggregate and connect ATM Ethernet and Fast Ethernet LANs to an ATM backbone at speeds of 155 megabit/sec and for less than $1 000 per port Cabletron officials said.

Byron Young director of ATM marketing at Cabletron said the company's merger with ZeitNet last year allowed Cabletron to adopt ZeitNet's SmartCell ZX-250 high-performance LAN switching fabric to the SmartSwitch platform. "Basically now our customers can have an integrated solution within the same box " Young said.

A Cabletron spokesman said the new module will show up imminently on all of the company's federal contracts that feature the SmartSwitch 6000. He said federal customers can expect to see the module added to NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement II and the Air Force's Unified LAN Architecture II contracts this summer.

The SmartCell 6A000 provides 15 switched ATM ports each operating at 155 megabit/sec with options available to provide speeds up to 622 megabit/sec. Young said up to three modules can be combined in a single SmartSwitch chassis for up to 48 ports in a single platform.

Young said he expects the "very aggressive" $1 000-per-port price to appeal to users in the Defense Department and elsewhere in government. "It has to be very cost-competitive because it's going into a wiring closet space " he said.

Consultant Craig Johnson principal analyst with Current Analysis Ashburn Va. agreed that the SmartCell 6A000 is "reasonably priced " although he added that Fore Systems Inc. may offer better pricing for low-end workgroup switching. "But whenever you talk about $1 000 per port you are working in the aggressive price range " he said.

Johnson said federal customers and their private-sector counterparts are looking for ways to connect their Ethernet and Fast Ethernet traffic to ATM backbones. "The federal government is one of the biggest absorbers of ATM these days " he said. "And the idea of having [LAN] uplinks is the general trend everybody is going toward. This announcement seems to go in line with that."

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