3Com to Roll Out New Network Management Tool

3Com plans to introduce a new tool that combines discovery and fault monitoring with more advanced configuration management for both small and large businesses.

3Com Corp. on Monday will launch another component of its strategy to deliver a range of network management capabilities for small and large enterprises with the introduction of 3Com Network Director.

The new tool, capable of managing any SNMP-enabled device, combines discovery and fault monitoring with more advanced configuration management for networks that range from 750 nodes to 5000 nodes.

The tool provides a central location from which to configure virtual LANs and to implement QOS (quality of service) capabilities for latency-sensitive applications or VOIP (voice over IP) traffic.

Network Director includes a configuration wizard that steps users through the QOS configuration, which is then propagated out across the network to individual switches.

The tool, which also provides backup and restore capabilities, is intended to help larger enterprises managing networks that span multiple sites to make their networks and network operators more efficient, according to Doug Hyde, product marketing manager at 3Com in Marlboro, Mass.

Network Director also provides more detailed troubleshooting using RMON data to allow more sophisticated network engineers to pinpoint the source of problems in the network.

Network Director, priced at $3,495 and due in May, also combines performance reporting as well as historical reporting to facilitate capacity planning.

It supplements 3Coms existing Network Administrator for HP OpenView, a module for OpenView that provides element management of 3Com networking equipment, as well as 3Coms Network Supervisor for monitoring smaller networks with 1500 nodes or less.

Beyond those offerings, 3Com also plans to add a new network management system platform that can be altered to add support for other vendors networking gear or to add further management applications. No time frame was released for such plans.

3Com also earlier this week launched a new four-slot chassis for its Switch 7700 line of LAN switches. The new four-slot chassis, which requires one slot for the switching fabric, is intended to provide workgroup aggregation, or it can be used as a core switch for smaller enterprises.

The switch fabric for the chassis can accept a four-port submodule supporting copper or fiber Gigabit Ethernet uplinks without having to use up a full slot. The chassis can support up to 64 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 144 10/100 Ethernet ports.

3Com also increased the port density on the Switch 7700 line by adding a pair of new 20-port Gigabit Ethernet switching modules, which more than double the capacity of the switch line.

One of the modules provides 10/100/1000 switching for copper-based Gigabit Ethernet links, and the other provides a fiber-based alternative.

A starter kit for the four-slot Switch 7700 includes the chassis, power supply, fan tray and switch fabric. It is priced at $14,995 and is due in May. The 20-port modules are priced at $3,995 for the copper-based option and $7,995 for the fiber option. Those are also due in May.

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