Cisco is challenging Ascend and Nortel in the carrier market with a new universal access server.
The launch of the AS 5800 is part of Cisco?s strategy to attack the carrier sector traditionally dominated by Ascend and Northern Telecom, as it sees its own core markets increasingly challenged by lower end rivals such as Bay and Cabletron.
It also indicates Cisco?s admission that remote access - one of the fastest growing areas of networking - has so far been its Achilles? heel. Market researchers Current Analysis believe this launch at last gives Cisco ?a complete product line? and that its market influence and installed base will be enough to scare Ascend and others.
The AS 5800 will integrate with other products targeted at carriers and very large enterprises, including the 5200 and 5300 hubs. A mix and match combination of the products can build a system supporting over 10,000 simultaneous connections, the company claims.
Cisco has also focused on high availability, essential to carriers, and claims average unplanned downtime will be five minutes a year.
Also to please the telecomms market, the AS 5800 supports the SS7 (Signalling System Seven) standards.
The company will be in a race with Ascend to add voice and fax over IP functions to its access server. Ascend plans to add those facilities to its Max TNT range in the coming month and Cisco is also promising similar enhancements, but with no timescale mentioned.
Other technologies supported in the device aer Fast Ethernet, FDDI, High Speed Serial Interface, E3, ATM and OC-3. US prices start at $515 per port.
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