ATM demise prompts 3Com to focus on LAN products

April 19, 2000

Connectivity vendor drops CoreBuilder line3Com is bowing out of the market for large enterprise networking clients and wide area networks to focus on local area network products for small- and

Connectivity vendor drops CoreBuilder line

3Com is bowing out of the market for large enterprise networking clients and wide area networks to focus on local area network products for small- and medium-sized hospitals. The company is discontinuing its CoreBuilder, NetBuilder, and PathBuilder product lines; final shipments will be made on June 30. 3Com has entered into an agreement with Extreme Networks to service customers on existing CoreBuilder networks and will provide support for PathBuilder and NetBuilder products for up to five years.

“There has been a significant change in the market,” said Bruce Patterson, director of global healthcare industry market development for 3Com in Santa Clara, CA. “We decided to concentrate on small and medium locations of less than 1000 users in response to high competition in the high-end enterprise market.”

The fact that the bottom has dropped out of the ATM market also contributed to 3Com’s decision to shift gears. Last September, quality of service standards were set for Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), which provides the same high speeds and levels of service as ATM networks at one-fifth the price. As evidenced in numerous publications and white papers, the computing industry has been watching GbE since the mid-1990s and predicting the downfall of ATM networks as soon as GbE-based products became readily available, because they would build on familiar, ubiquitous, and less expensive components.

3Com enabled its CoreBuilder 9000 switches for both ATM and GbE ports in 1997. According to Patterson, 3Com aims to “keep it simple” and provide standards-based products; for example, its SuperStack networking product, demoed at the Radiological Society of North America meeting last November, builds on the speed of the GbE technology to provide the ability to move bandwidth-heavy images at real-time transmission rates.

In related news, 3Com is developing a suite of network interface cards (NICs) called Typhoon that have their own chip to encrypt and decrypt data at hardware speeds without slowing the processing speed of the networked computers. The Typhoon NICs will cost only $20 more per card than regular NICs, according to Patterson.

© 2000 Miller Freeman, Inc., a United News & Media company.