Cabletron today launched a business unit focused on the UK enterprise networking market, a move met with scepticism from analysts and end users.
The launch follows a decision by the vendor in February to sell off its low-end networking products and split itself into four subsidiaries that will provide networking services and products to enterprises and service providers.
Cabletron's traditional enterprise customer business will be handled by Enterasys Networks, which will sell its Layer 2 and 3 Smartswitch routers and switches. It will compete against Cisco, as well as emerging players such as Foundry and Extreme.
Stefan Michal, Cabletron's business development director in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said he is confident that Enterasys will enjoy 30 to 50 per cent growth, and said the company is committed to the enterprise market unlike 3Com.
"We will develop into a startup business but with the legacy of an established player in the networking market," said Michal, adding that Cabletron would streamline systems and operations to compete. The vendor has already announced plans to shed 800 jobs and sell off its legacy hub and terminal servers business that it acquired from Digital's network product group.
Pim Bilderbeek, director of European networking research at analyst IDC, said that separating Enterasys is an interim step before a likely sale. "Enterasys is not the next hot company. The enterprise market is not growing very quickly which is why people are getting out of it," he said, adding that Cabletron's product range remains a "hotch potch".
Cabletron also launched in the UK today the first product branded under the Enterasys logo, the Matrix E7 enterprise switch. The Matrix E7 has a higher port density than Cabletron's current flagship product, the Smartswitch Router, and has been introduced only two-thirds of the way through its predecessor's lifecycle and at a cheaper cost.
The Matrix E7 uses a distributed switching architecture with a capacity of more than 500 10/100 ethernet ports and more than 80 gigabit ethernet ports in a single chassis, with switching throughput of more than 100 million packets per second.
Brian Collins, information systems manager at the Royal College of Surgeons, said his chief concern is retaining support for the gigabit ethernet Smartswitch router the college uses.
"We choose Cabletron over Cisco because it was ahead in the game," he said. "When Cisco was bidding, it kept trying to change the ground rules but now Cisco looks to be the safer bet." Cabletron was "crazy" to drop a name which had such brand loyalty amongst network managers, he added.
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