Stories by Stephen Lawson

  • Cisco breaks net gridlock

    Cisco Systems next quarter will give IT managers increased ability to prioritise network traffic by type of application when it augments its venerable Catalyst 5000 and 5500 series LAN switches with significantly more sophisticated port modules. In addition to providing more control over existing applications, Cisco plans to position these modules as major new tools for enabling voice over IP.

  • 3Com turns focus to NICs

    3Com this week outlined plans to enhance its network interface cards (NICs), making a pair of announcements that return the company's focus to its largest business. The networking vendor, facing formidable competitors including Cisco and an emboldened Lucent, plans to bolster its NICs with security hardware and mobile-system configuration software.

  • Cisco develops modular IOS

    Cisco Systems Inc.'s massive Internetwork Operating System (IOS) software, the operating system that runs most routers on the Internet, will be sliced into bite-size modules in a future version that should make it easier for IT managers to update their networks, Cisco said. The leading router maker in late December released Version 12.0 of IOS, integrating significant new capabilities but leaving out what one user said was the most important promised change.

  • Cisco ships DSL router for small businesses

    Cisco this week began shipping the first in a series of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) routers for small and midsize businesses. The Cisco 1401 DSL router features a 10Base-T Ethernet port and a standard 25Mbps ATM interface that can be connected to a DSL modem for WAN connectivity at speeds as fast as 8Mbps. DSL is an emerging technology designed to provide high-speed WAN connections over existing copper wiring, especially in homes and small and remote offices.

  • Switch makers, carriers team on WAN specs

    Cisco Systems, MCI WorldCom, and Bellcore have joined with other major WAN vendors and carriers in a forum to open up multiservice networks. The Multiservice Switching Forum (MSF) will develop specifications to let access devices, switches, and network controllers interoperate in service provider facilities. The vendors and carriers hope to speed up development of multiservice carrier networks that can handle voice, video, and data traffic.

  • HP may become end-to-end player

    Hewlett-Packard, signalling what may be its ambition to become an end-to-end systems provider, will early next year introduce its first routing switch in a bid to create a full Ethernet LAN product set. The company's Ethernet strategy, to be carried out through 1999, will build on HP's strength in workgroups and data centres.

  • Vendors present their visions for high-capacity networking

    A Nortel Networks executive told an Internet conference here that packet routing is likely to converge with optical networking next year, allowing enterprises to set up a direct 10Gbps link to the outside world. Also kicking off the iBand conference was a keynote by Cisco's chief technology officer, Judy Estrin, who acknowledged the challenges to networking vendors in bringing voice and data together over the coming years.

  • Cisco knowledge base to be in the channel's hands

    Cisco Systems will this week begin putting its huge product knowledge base in the hands of end users and channel partners. The company will introduce the first of a series of CD-ROMs that will guide IT staff through training on a set of products, removing the need for trips to Cisco training classes or in-house hardware labs, according to Cisco officials.

  • Ascend, HydraWeb to leverage load balancing

    Ascend Communications was last week scheduled to announce an alliance with HydraWeb Technologies to make it easier for many Internet service providers to introduce server load balancing. The vendor of remote-access equipment will make an equity investment in HydraWeb, which makes devices for directing network traffic to a set of servers.

  • Nortel, Cisco bolster remote-access offerings

    Nortel Networks last week introduced its latest offering in a fiercely competitive market for branch office and telecommuter access devices. The rollout of the Bay Networks Nautica 250 ISDN router follows recent announcements of firewall software for Bay's Contivity VPN device, as well as of an ISDN router from Cisco Systems.

  • Novell, Nortel in directory deal

    Novell last week signed up another networking partner to use its directory technology, formalising a partnership with Nortel Networks. The strategic pact puts into action an agreement announced in 1997 for policy-based, directory-enabled networks. It also follows a deal between Novell and Lucent that was unveiled in October at NetWorld+Interop. Nortel will integrate Novell Directory Services (NDS) with the Optivity Policy Services software being developed by Nortel's Bay Networks line of business. The company announced it will license NDS for inclusion in the policy application, due for release in spring 1999.

  • Network hardware duel brewing over VPNs

    Major networking vendors are taking the virtual private network (VPN) market by storm, causing a showdown with smaller specialised organisations. Cisco Systems last week introduced a small-office router that can link branch offices securely to a central facility over shared public or private networks.

  • Intel buys Shiva for $US185 million

    In a move that confirms its long-stated intention of competing broadly across the networking industry, Intel has announced it will acquire remote-access pioneer Shiva. The buyout will bring Intel into the remote-access and virtual private network (VPN) markets with a bang and will give it a foothold in voice-over-IP equipment with products to be announced shortly by Shiva. It will also deliver Shiva's large customer base of small and midsize enterprises to a company that has made that segment its first target for networking.

  • Alcatel buys Packet Engines

    Alcatel Alsthom last week took a firm step into IP (Internet protocol) networking and the North American market, agreeing to acquire routing-switch maker Packet Engines.

  • Cabletron to target the wide area

    Cabletron will unveil hardware and software this week at NetWorld+Interop to jump-start its drive into the fast-growing WAN market. The company will play off the two products it has been touting most highly this year by announcing WAN interfaces for its SmartSwitch router and demonstrating a policy-based router control application for its Spectrum network management platform.