3Com-Huawei Joint VentureGets U.S., U.K. Approval

3Com last week said it received export license approvals from the U.S. and U.K. governments. That allows the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company to license and share its technologies developed in those countries with Huawei in China, where the joint venture will be based.

The final regulatory hurdle will be gaining approval from the Chinese government, which is expected by the fall, said 3Com President and CEO Bruce Claflin in an interview with CRN. "Everything looks positive. We believe we'll get the approval. It's just a question of when," Claflin said.


3Com's Bruce Claflin says getting the final approval is 'just a question of when.'

In March, 3Com said it would team with Huawei to produce high-end networking gear for the large enterprise market, even though the Chinese networking vendor is embroiled in a patent- and copyright-infringement lawsuit with Cisco Systems.

Still, 3Com and Huawei are moving ahead with the venture's first product: 3Com's Switch 7700, a Layer 3 modular LAN switch for campus core applications. The switch, developed by Huawei, is due to ship by the end of this month.

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3Com and Huawei plan to have a full line of high-performance switches and routers available when the joint venture is approved, Claflin said. The initial offerings primarily will be Huawei-developed products with minor modifications, he said. Over time, Huawei will develop products based on 3Com-designed ASICs, and 3Com will integrate Huawei's VRP operating system into its product line, he added.

That's good news, said Paul Rodwell, vice president of technology at REH Associates, a Southfield, Mich.-based solution provider. "3Com now has a very exciting product road map at intriguing prices," he said. "A lot of my customers in the automotive industry

are looking for more cost-effective solutions."

The Switch 7700 alone will change how customers view 3Com as a vendor, Rodwell said. "3Com has missed a lot of opportunities without a core switch," he said. "I have a lot of customers where I may place only one switch like the 7700. But the project would involve hundreds of edge switches, and they wouldn't use 3Com because they didn't have a core switch."

Earlier this month, a U.S. federal court granted 3Com's request to be heard in the Cisco-Huawei lawsuit. In June, 3Com asked the U.S. District Court in eastern Texas to declare that the products it sources from Huawei and plans to sell through the joint venture don't infringe on Cisco's intellectual property. At that time, Huawei also asked the court to declare that its new products don't infringe on Cisco's intellectual property.