Network giant Cisco today voted to support a technology to integrate Lans, routers and servers, which provides gigabit Ethernet capabilities and is backed by a bevy of industry players.
Announcing its influential support for the bandwidth aggregation approach, Cisco introduced its first implementation, called Fast Ether Channel. This emerging standard allows the scaling of networks to multi-gigabit speeds and Cisco added that it will provide similar functions on its own gigabit offerings when the Gigabit Ethernet specification is complete.
Companies that have already said they will support the standard include Intel, HP, Compaq, Adaptec, Netframe, Silicon Graphics, Xircom and Sun.
Bandwidth aggregation allows the stepping of Fast Ethernet, using standard multiple IEEE 802.3 links between pairs of routers, switches or servers. That allows for a bandwidth that aggregates data rates to a higher level than any single link.
Cisco claimed that its Fast Ether Channel will give both fault tolerance and load sharing, spreading traffic across different links if one or more goes down. The first products using the spec are unlikely to arrive until the second half of this year and will be available for both Cisco?s Catalyst 5000 Lan switches and its 7500 Router products.
The company will also provide a protocol called Port Aggregation Protocol (PAgP) to automatically make and configure Fast Ether Channel links.
Cisco rolled out senior executives from Intel, Netframe and HP to support its initiative. Intel said it will support Fast Ether Channel in its server adaptors. Netframe will use it to link its Cluster System 9000 products.
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