3Com's Enterprise Redux

the enterprise networking market.

3Com last week unveiled the modular Switch 7700, a Layer 3 LAN core switch. The networking hardware vendor is sourcing the switch from Huawei, a Chinese vendor involved in a patent infringement suit with Cisco Systems.

>> A full product road map based on the 7700 is under development, 3Com's Patrick Guay says.

Launched at CeBit America here, the Switch 7700 is a high-performance, Layer 3 modular LAN switch for campus core applications and supports convergence of voice, video and data with quality of service, bandwidth management and high-density Gigabit and Fast Ethernet, said Patrick Guay, vice president of LAN infrastructure at 3Com. The switch also is 10-Gbit capable, he said.

The 7700 platform is a "good midrange chassis that will work well as a core product for midsize enterprise customers," said Glenn Perkal, vice president of Integrity Networking Systems, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based solution provider. "This will give us the opportunity to do more for our customers that are looking for more capability at a lower price."

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Perkal said the 7700 is a solid offering to go up against Cisco's Catalyst 4500 and Extreme Networks' Alpine switch lines. "[But] we still have customers that will only buy Cisco," he added. Integrity sells Cisco and Foundry gear as well as 3Com products.

The seven-slot starter kit for the 7700 will have a U.S. list price of $21,995, according to 3Com. The switch is scheduled to become available in late July.

Guay said the 7700 will cost 15 percent to 40 percent less than competing Cisco solutions and is designed to compete head-to-head with Cisco's Catalyst 4500 series. 3Com also is developing a full product road map based on the 7700 platform, he said.

Perkal, for one, said he's looking forward to more products from the 3Com-Huawei joint venture.

"This is just the beginning. There are a lot more products to come on the higher end that we're excited about," he said. "I'm especially happy to see a company like 3Com enter the router market. The fact that somebody else is making a major play in the router market is a good thing for everybody."

3Com will recruit its current Gold and Silver partners to sell the 7700 line, said Dave Smith, vice president of sales at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor. "There is a good portion of our partner base that can scale to this market right now,"

he said.