3Com's Second Wave Switch

Along with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and others, 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) is going for a second [Ed Note: Or is it third?] bite of the unified wired and wireless switch concept.

The venerable networking company is offering a new box called the "Unified Gigabit Wireless POE Switch 24" that has a wired Gigabit Ethernet port and can manage and power up to 24 access points and offers features such as VOIP support and virtual LANs (VLANs) for separate guest access. 3Com says the box will cost $2,750 and be available later this month.

The firm says the appliance is aimed at the small and medium business market. It appears at a time when the concept of a unified wired and wireless switch seems to be re-emerging across enterprises large and small. (See Unified Switches: Get Ready.)

This is hardly the first time that the idea has been aired by vendors in the WiFi market.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has talked up the possibilities of convergence between wired and wireless traffic on a network since it unveiled its first -- massive -- WiFi switch product, the Wireless LAN Services Module (WLSM), back in May 2004. (See Cisco Switches On.) The switch was too large-scale for many users to consider using it for WiFi at that point, and so Cisco ended up buying Airespace in January 2005, in part to support smaller installations. (See Cisco Buys Airespace.)

The networking giant, however, has never stopped talking about unified networking as part of its WiFi strategy. These days the revamped Catalyst 3750G rack switches are part of the firm's push in that direction.

The idea of combining wired and wireless networking on a switch was also attractive to many of Cisco's wireline rivals -- notably Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), which came out swinging in April 2003 with a line of unified products that it reckoned would do away with the startups in the switch field. (See So Extremely Sorry, Startups.) This was not to be, and the firm ended up launching a second line of products in June 2005. (See Extreme's Second Wind .) In the event, the idea of unifying networks turned out not to be compelling enough to convince users to buy. So vendors are tending to concentrate on pushing the applications that can be enabled by bringing wired and wireless together with this latest wave of products.

These can be as simple as running wired and wireless for an office via one box, or take in more ambitious applications, such as unified security and enterprise-wide VOIP.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

lrmobile_got_light 12/5/2012 | 3:38:50 AM
re: 3Com's Second Wave Switch Dan,

Could you please shed more light on:

1. Do these switches support the Fat-AP model or the thin-AP model?

2. What about crypto (if its the thin AP model)? Who does the crypto? the switching chip or do they have a co-processor?

3. Who's supplying them the chips for unified access? There aren't too many of the suppliers yet?

4. What will happen to the capwap standards? Who's pushing thier model?


Got Light?
wirelessfreak 12/5/2012 | 3:38:34 AM
re: 3Com's Second Wave Switch No word on if this is a Trapeze-based product or not, but the "official" word from 3Com is that this is for the SMB/SME market.


Other items of interest in the article are the specific commentary on 3Com's financial and corporate condition.

Between this non-announcement and the non-unified switch from Cisco we can quote Obi Wan in saying "these are not the switches you are looking for"
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