3Com Releases Multi-Service Routers

Open Services Networking (OSN) model

3Com announced the Multi-Service Router (MSR) with OSN, a branch-in-a-box offering designed for deployment in branch and regional offices and by MSPs. MSR's IP router platform runs applications on Open Services Modules, making it easier for channel partners to offer their customers enhanced services instead of point products and appliances.

Already deployed throughout China, the MSR series includes three models, the 50, 30 and 20 Series, all of which share a common architecture and single software level.

The MSR Series ties together routing, switching, security, firewall, a voice gateway, a VPN gateway and an access server into one package. Applications and functions can be added to the routers in modular form.

Peter Doggart, 3Com's senior director of LAN and WAN infrastructure, said VARs can make various applications available to their customers and can offer them service upgrades as new applications are added into the mix.

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"Instead of selling a point product, a point system, partners can add in new services," he said. "Partners can add value. It opens a huge array of opportunities for them. We're trying to make it very simple and easy for partners to sell."

Along with announcing the new MSR series, 3Com on Tuesday will also unveil the addition of two new applications to the OSN model. 3Com Asterisk IP Communications Platform will add unified VoIP capabilities to the network and Expand Networks will add WAN optimization and application acceleration to the mix. Asterisk and Expand join other OSN applications, such as 3Com Services Monitoring Bundle, Vericept email information leak protection and Q1 Labs network behavior analysis.

David White, Expand Networks' vice president of business development, said the partnership with 3Com adds Expand functionality into the router and can accelerate applications that router is running. He said adding WAN optimization into the routing platform fall in line with current consolidation trends, where companies are looking to reduce the number of boxes in their branch office. White added that the pairing will help Expand open itself up to a new set of partners and customers.

"3Com is known for its channels," he said. "This gives Expand visibility into a new customer base."

OSN was launched last year as a platform to integrate best-of-breed and open-source applications into the network infrastructure, enabling organizations to drive operational simplicity, reduce capital and operating expenditures and protect their networking investments. Doggart said the OSN strategy lets 3Com offer an integrated networking approach that ties services like security, VoIP and WAN optimization into the infrastructure while offering a multi-vendor solution.

Doggart said OSN enables end users to run open-source, third-party and 3Com-developed application solutions in the network. OSN is a major component of 3Com's strategy to deliver secure and converged networks and drive application integration into the network infrastructure.

According to 3Com, OSN is an alternative approach to Cisco Systems' single-vendor integrated networking approach, though which it builds network infrastructure with optional integrated applications. Under Cisco's model, customers deploy features like routing, switching, VoIP, security, wireless and WAN optimization on a single Cisco device or a small number of Cisco devices without using non-Cisco equipment or application. Under 3Com's model, other vendors' wares are integrated in to offer additional functionality that 3Com doesn't offer on its own