3Com Turns on Switch 7700R

3Com creates the Switch 7700R, a high-availability device for LANs.

As part of its re-entry into the core switching and routing space, 3Com Corp. last week added the next family member in its Switch 7700 line with a high-availability version.

The Switch 7700R is the second member of the chassis-based LAN switch line to come out of the Marlboro, Mass., companys joint venture with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., of Shenzhen, China. It features a redundant switch fabric that provides 1-second failover in the event the main switch fabric goes down.

"It rounds out the product [line] for high availability and adds onto the existing 7700 enhanced security and performance features at a lower total cost than our competitors," said Charles Gallagher, referring primarily to Cisco Systems Inc. Gallagher is director of product management for modular LANs at 3Com.

After its exit from the market four years ago, when 3Com withdrew its CoreBuilder and NetBuilder core switch lines, it saw an opportunity to re-enter the market as a lower-cost alternative to Cisco, offering a broad range of networking options through its partnership with Huawei Technologies. That alternative was what users at Prudential Northwest Properties were looking for, said Sean McRae, CIO at the Portland, Ore., company.

Although Prudential Northwest Properties briefly considered a competing Cisco product, the company selected the Switch 7700R because Ciscos offering "was outside our price range," McRae said. "We use a lot of Cisco products for routing, but weve begun to transition to 3Com enterprise products in the last year. Price is key, and 3Com has a more manageable interface. We can manage 3Com products in-house, and that reduces our costs," McRae said. Redundancy is also key for Prudential because the network supports business-critical IP telephony traffic, he said.

The Switch 7700R provides total switching throughput of 96G bps and is 10 Gigabit Ethernet ready. No 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching modules are yet available for the platform, but 3Com intends to add such modules this year, Gallagher said.

The eight-slot chassis can accommodate as many as six switching modules, which can include a mix of eight-port Gigabit Ethernet modules as well as 24- or 48-port, 100M-bps Fast Ethernet modules. The Switch 7700 has a seven-slot chassis. The Switch 7700R is due Jan. 30, starting at $25,995. The redundant switch fabric costs $9,995. The optional software upgrade, due by the end of next month, costs $4,995.