Cabletron is trying to boost its presence in the low-end switchingarket. market, with the launch of cut-price chassis modules for its SmartSwitch 6000, and rebadged stand-alone switches.
Cabletron, which last month agreed to buy NetVantage, in a deal worth $100m, to gain access to its low-end switching technology and distribution channel, will sell branded versions of NetVantage's NV9200 switches before it takes control of the business.
The 10Mbps modules for the SmartSwitch 6000 will replace the existing 24-port modules and give a five-fold increase in throughput, according to Cabletron. But in the low-end switching market, which has seen dramatic price-cutting halve the price per port in the last eight months, Cabletron is a minnow compared to market leaders Cisco and 3Com.
Figures from Dataquest covering the switching market as a whole for Q1 1998, give Cisco 39 per cent of the market. 3Com is in second place with 31 per cent, followed by Bay and Cabletron both in single figures. Cisco product marketing manager, Joe Frost, said that projections for the 10Mbps switching market in the UK remained healthy, as customers here were moving away from hub technology to switches faster than anywhere else in Europe.
He said that pricing on switching, which is now down to around £45 per port, might come down further because of competition between manufacturers.
The original round of switching price cuts came from 3Com as it tried to grab market share from Cisco.
Cabletron has gone for a multi-pronged approach, investing in its own ATM switching product and planning to enter the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) market with more acquisitions.
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