Three Rivals To Release Networking Devices That Target Convergence, Security

Networking rivals Cisco , 3Com and Enterasys all will release a series of products this month designed to upgrade the infrastructures of businesses of all sizes.

Cisco's 1800 Series, 2800 Series and 3800 Series integrated services routers take advantage of burgeoning demand for Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies by combining voice and network security capabilities into a single data networking device.

3Com is introducing its own edge solution for the enterprise, the Router 6000 Family. The devices bring enterprise-class wide area network (WAN) features and performance to the regional offices of large enterprise customers and to the headquarters of midsize enterprises. The Router 6000 series is designed for customers with large, distributed networks and is interoperable with Cisco routers. 3Com also announced the expansion of its Router 3000 family of DSL routers, designed for remote sites and small offices of larger organizations.

Meanwhile, the Matrix C2 Series, which includes a 10/100/1000 stackable switching platform with Power over Ethernet (PoE), is the latest Enterasys entry into the edge solution space. When combined with Enterasys switches at the distribution layer and core, the C2 Series provides granular policy control and a dynamic security posture.

IDC analyst Max Flisi says the price and form factor of the C2 Series will be its strongest selling points to companies that want to take advantage of the convergence trend. "Enterasys has extended its Secure Networks policy and security capabilities to a competitively priced stackable platform, enabling enterprises to enforce granular security policies at the network access points," he says. "With first-to-market 10/100/1000 PoE support in a stackable form factor, the Matrix C2 addresses enterprise requirements for convergence-ready infrastructures."

IDC estimates the worldwide switching market will surpass $15 billion in 2008. Cisco's new routers are part of its Self-Defending Network security strategy. The routers feature embedded network security services and built-in virtual private network (VPN) hardware encryption and acceleration, Version 2.0 of the intuitive Cisco Router and Security Device Manager (SDM) and Cisco IOS Software-based VPN firewall. The company also has embedded inline intrusion-prevention system (IPS) functionality into the devices for the first time, and customers can add additional modules for enhanced network services and higher performance, such as VPN acceleration, enhanced IPS and URL filtering.

"This the first wire-speed delivery of concurrent voice, video and data services on a single platform," says Edison Peres, vice president of emerging technologies for worldwide channels at Cisco. "The 1800 Series provides an absolutely crucial modular secure data platform, and the 2800 Series opens up a market that the channel has never had access to before because its gets into voice and security as a combined solution at a much lower price point with a small form factor," he adds.

The routers have voice services integrated directly inside, and the 2800 and 3800 series routers include new releases of Cisco's CallManager Express and Unity Express. The 1800 Series, 2800 Series and 3800 Series integrated services router will begin at list prices of $1,395, $1,995 and $9,500, respectively. The 1800 and 2800 Series will ship this month, and the 3800 Series will be available in October.

The 3Com Router 6040 and 3Com Router 6080 start at $5,990 and $8,390, respectively, and include 512-MB operating memory and the full software suite of routing, VPN and security software. The 3Com Router 3000 DSL family is priced between $595 and $795. All routers are available now. Pricing for the Enterasys C2 series is not yet available.