3Com is targeting the voice over copper wiring market with a new division aimed at service providers that want to provide broadband voice services.
The networking giant, which shocked the industry when it pulled out of the high-end enterprise arena in March, wants a slice of the so-called multi-tenant market offering voice over digital subscriber line (DSL) services to office complexes and apartment buildings.
Research company Cahners In-Stat predicts that the US multi-tenant market alone will be worth nearly $24bn (£16bn) by 2004.
Bruce Claflin, 3Com's president and chief operating officer, said he expects the division to earn several hundred million dollars in revenue over the next two to three years.
3Com will target the market with its Visitor and Community Network System (VCN), which is based on ethernet over VDSL (very high data rate DSL). The package features three components: the VCN Access Point, which provides a 10Mbps connection to the network for laptops and desktop PCs through existing telephones; a 24-port switch called the VCN Concentrator; and the VCN Server for billing, security and other services.
Besides internet access, 3Com said VCN provides services such as simultaneous voice transmission, email and fax over IP, local area networking (Lan) and virtual private networking.
Administration of internet access and Lan services will be provided by SolutionIP software from Solution.
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