Madge Networks hit back yesterday at Cisco?s claims that there is no market left in Token Ring.
The company claimed Cisco's decision to pull out of their Fast Ethernet Token Ring Alliance will make no difference to its efforts to provide a growth path for the networking technology.
Madge officials made the comments as the company announced its four point plan to take Token Ring into the next century.
Cisco pulled out of the alliance earlier this year partly because of its long timescales. Betsy Huber, product line manager at Cisco?s interworks business unit, said the company could not support an alliance that would not deliver combined Ethernet/Token Ring until 2000.
Simon Gawne, head of Token Ring marketing and business management at Madge Networks, which leads the alliance with IBM, said there is still life in Token Ring. Gigabit support for the protocol will appear in the middle of next year, he claimed.
?There?s been a lot of bad press about Token Ring but the reality is the market is worth $2 billion a year, with an installed base of 20 million desktops,? said Gawne.
?Cisco left the alliance because there was growing conflict between its own Token Ring products and our standards based work," he continued. "[Losing] Cisco has made no major impact. The members, which include Madge Networks, Olicom, 3Com and IBM, still control 99 per cent of the adapter card market."
Gawne claimed the alliance is on track. It will offer 100Mbps Token Ring specifications for ratification next month. That will be followed by submission of the 1Gbps standard in February.
The aim is to ship 100Mbps adapter cards by the end of the year and mid-1999 for 1Gbps support for switches.
Madge?s own Token Ring strategy is called Madge Perspective. It has four main focuses - scalability, which includes Gigabit Token Ring and a high speed backbone switch; the use of advanced silicon designs to drive down prices; support for voice and data services; and the integration of Token Ring and Ethernet in multimedia networks.
Said Gawne: ?Token Ring is more ready for converged networks than Ethernet.?
He said that, unlike Token Ring, Ethernet does not enable important voice traffic to gain priority over other services. Though the IEEE standards body is addressing this with the 802.1Q standard, it will not be backwards compatible with existing Ethernet tools, so users will have to overhaul their entire network to take advantage.
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