3Com challenges Cisco to router duel

3Com pdate is turning up the heat in the enterprise routing rival Cisco Systems.

On Monday, the company announced two new series of routers, low-cost access are designed to be substitutes or alternatives to the routers sold by Cisco. The company claims that these routers will cost 30 percent to 50 percent less than similar offerings from market leader Cisco.

3Com’s product news comes just as Cisco prepares to announce its own set of access routers. The Tuesday, Cisco is expected to reveal details of its new 1800 2800 and 3800 wide area network access routers, which will include integrated security tools and support for voice over Internet protocol.

Cisco has long dominated the enterprise router market, with more than 90 percent of the market, but competitors such as 3Com and Juniper Networks could pose a threat to the domination of the company.

3Com’s strategy has been to offer customers high-performance routing at a price much lower than what Cisco offers. The company, which has partnered with Chinese manufacturer Huawei Technologies for network equipment to develop their enterprise routers, do much of the functionality in their products without charge extra for it, “said Howard Rubin, manager of product marketing 3Com routers. For example, says that 3Com includes software support for features such as firewall security and virtual private network connectivity as part of the basic price for its routers, while Cisco and Juniper do not.

“Customers are tired of paying a premium for Cisco equipment,” he said. “And they get very angry when they realize they have to pay extra for additional memory or activate certain security features. After some time, it adds up.”

But Cisco does not seem too worried about competition from 3Com.

“Cisco has healthy respect for all competitors,” said Jim Brady, a spokesman for Cisco. “However, any vendor can match Cisco mix of advanced technology, channel partners and industry leaders in technology support.”

3Com 6000 series routers to compete directly with Cisco 3725 and 3745 routers. The 3Com routers support a wide range of routing protocols and multiprotocol label switching, stateful inspection of packets, quality of service features, and IPsec virtual private network services.

The 3Com Router 6040 and 6080 start at 5. U.S. $ 990 and the U.S. $ 8,390, respectively.

According to listings at CNET Shopper prices for Cisco 3725 is between U.S. $ 9,011 and the U.S. $ 9,928. Prices for 3745 is shown as between the U.S. and the U.S. $ 13,139 $ 13,819.

On Monday, 3Com also introduced a new low-end 3000 series routers that provides a range of DSL interfaces for branches. The 3000 series routers, which come in six new models, asymmetric DSL support (ADSL) and global standard for high bit rate DSL (G. SHDSL). This line competes directly with the 83x series routers, Cisco.

The 3Com Router 3000 DSL family is priced between U.S. and the U.S. $ 595,795 dollars.

Analysts agree that customers need a second source for access to the leadership of teams, but other competitors may be in a better position to win. Networks Juniper, which has successfully competed against Cisco in the service provider of high-end router market is expected to begin selling its new access routers this month.

“Many of these access routers are sold as part of a managed routing service through the companies,” said Dave Passmore, an analyst at Burton Group. “And Juniper already has strong relationships there. I think they are more a threat to Cisco, 3Com is.”

The complete set of new 3Com products will be available in mid-November, the company said.