3Com switch aims for the 10-Gigabit future

The latest family of switches from 3Com is targeted at network managers contemplating Gigabit to the desktop

3Com is gearing up for the days when one-gigabit-per-second connections at the desktop are the norm, with the launch of its latest range of network switches this week.

The SuperStack 3 Switch 3870 family is the first stackable Gigabit Ethernet switch line to include a built-in 10-Gigabit expansion slot, according to 3Com.

It is aimed at companies that need a Gigabit Ethernet switch today, but  want to have the option of making the jump to 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10-GigE) in the future without having to replace their switches.

3Com says the expansion slot brings added scalability to a company's network. If utilised, it would give users faster connectivity at their desks than would be the case with a 1Gb or 100Mbps switch. A 10-GigE switch can be used to provide 10 simultaneous 1Gbps connections from individual desktops to internal systems such as mail and file servers.

"As a first of its kind with a 10-Gigabit expansion slot, the SuperStack 3 Switch 3870 offers IT managers worldwide the performance and flexibility of triple-speed Gigabit at price points that would typically associate with traditionally Ethernet technologies," said Tim Jalland, 3Com's senior director of product management.

A 48-port version of the 3870 switch will cost $5,995 (£3,430), while a 24-port version will cost $3,995 (£2,280). Both should go on sale in June.

Realistically, few companies need to upgrade to 10-GigE today. However, as hardware prices have been falling sharply over the last few months, network managers are being encouraged to plan for a future in which their users run applications that demand this extra bandwidth.