3Com/Hauwei start shipping router solutions

3Com Corp.’s new 5000 Series routers, which began shipping this month, will be attractive to customers wanting an alternative to Cisco equipment, according to one market research analyst.

Albert Daoust, director of special products for Toronto-based Evans Research Corp., says Cisco Systems Inc.

has between 85 and 95 per cent of the router arena (depending on whether you’re measuring high-end or low-end).

“”I would suggest Cisco’s market share is not sustainable, just because you would think that no one can have an 85 per cent market share,”” he said. “”People (are) looking for alternatives.””

But he added many customers have never bought routers made by anyone other than Cisco, and many dealers have never sold non-Cisco routers.

The most promising customers for resellers could be users who already have 3Com local-area network (LAN) switches or 3Com Network Branch Exchange (NBX) Internet Protocol telephony equipment, Daoust said.

“”The NBX products have done very well,”” he added. Santa Clara, Calif.-based 3Com announced four routers late last month.

The 5009 model, which the vendor expects will be priced at $2,045, is designed for either small office users or telecommuters, said Nick Tidd, director of business compliance and go-to-market strategy of 3Com Corp. and former 3Com Canada country manager.

The Router 5231 is expected to cost $3,660 and is aimed at regional offices. The other two models — the 5460 and 5680 — are intended for main offices and are expected to be priced at $5,860 and $9,525.

They are designed to provide WAN and secure Internet services, and to support traffic prioritization and virtual private networking.

Tidd, who was 3Com’s country manager for Canada before being promoted to his current position, said the 5000 series routers are suitable for networks supporting converged voice, video and data applications — and for networks that may have to support such applications in the future.

He added many features of the routers — such as network interface cards (NICs), support for voice, wireless LAN capability — are available on Cisco and 3Com routers, but not available on hardware from many other network equipment manufacturer.

The 5000 series router is the first product set announced in 3Com’s partnership with Hauwei (pronounced WAWAY), a Chinese contract equipment manufacturer.

They will be sold through existing distributor relationships, Tidd said.

“”What you’re going to see from the Hauwei partnership is the current products, which require some training,”” Tidd said.

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