3Com Unveils Stackable Switches

FRAMINGHAM (07/31/2000) - 3Com Corp. this week announced four new stackable switches for bringing lower-priced Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet to medium-sized businesses and enterprise wiring closets.

The four new additions to the SuperStack II 3300 line have a range of features, including integrated stacking matrices, a price of around $80 per switched 10/100/1000M bit/sec Ehternet port, and copper-based Gigabit Ethernet ports on some models.

"Gigabit Ethernet is now not just for big boys," says Keith Baker, marketing manager for the SuperStack product line.

Baker says the new 3300 offerings will appeal to small and medium-sized businesses that before could not afford Gigabit Ethernet, as well as enterprises looking to extend gigabit connections to the desktop.

"[Large enterprises] now don't have to lay that expensive fiber to desktop," to support bandwidth-hungry enterprise applications such as voice and video, Baker says. "Companies can start using their existing Category-5 cable to have full gigabit bandwidth to the desktop immediately."

All four of the new switches also have a built-in stacking matrix module - an add-on which had to be purchased separately on earlier 3300 models. The integrated module allows switches to share one backplane, making the new switches doubly valuable, according to Jeff Dietsche, systems administrator for the South Washington County (Minn.) School district.

Dietsche uses a stack of 3300MMs to connect users in 17 schools and administrative buildings to an RS/6000-based financial system and a separate e-mail server.

"This saves us time and money," says Dietsche of the built-in stacking module.

"You don't have to do research on finding the right stacking module for your switch. You don't have to wait for the separate parts to come in. It's all there." Dietsche adds that he saves around $1,000 per switch by not having to buy the stacking modules separately.

All of the switches include RMON, SNMP and Web-based management and come with 3Com's Transcend Network Supervisor software for free.

All models have 24 ports of 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet and the integrated stacking matrix, but they differ on the uplinks. The 3300TM has a single 1000BASE-T port for connecting the switch to a copper-based infrastructure and costs $1,995; the 3300SM has a 1000BASE-SX multimode fiber port and costs $2,350. Without gigabit uplinks are the 3300XM, which costs $1,345, and the thin 1U-sized 3300MM, which costs $2,350. All of the SuperStack II 3300 models are available now.

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