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3com to Compete with Cisco

CmdrTaco posted about 10 years ago | from the there-can-be-only-one-or-maybe-more dept.

The Internet 181

RNelson writes "3com has announced its new lines of routers poised to compete with Cisco. 'The company claims that these routers will cost 30 percent to 50 percent less than similar offerings from market leader Cisco.' The new routers compete the Cisco's 3725, 3745, and 83xx routers."

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ZOMG REI (-1, Offtopic)

GNAA KILT REI (799995) | about 10 years ago | (#10245623)

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but will it (5, Interesting)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | about 10 years ago | (#10245633)

compete with Juniper? Since Juniper got Netscreen, they look like a nice player to compete with Cisco. We'll see if this is a three horse race, but I like what Juniper's doing. Their SSL VPN appliance is also very sweet.

Foolish move... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245640)

3Com's router/switch business got beat up precisely because it couldn't compete with Cisco gears. Are they back for more black eyes?

Re:Foolish move... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245825)

Cisco now owns 3Com [cisco.com] so this is just Cisco rehashing their own products under a different label.

Mod this AC down (1, Flamebait)

MarkGriz (520778) | about 10 years ago | (#10246664)

How did this BS get modded Informative? Hello? Earth to mods? Please don't moderate something informative if you have no idea what you are moderating about.

Cisco does not own 3Com. Now perhaps if the AC said "lol 3com - c15co \/\/1|_|_ 0wnz ju", an Insightful moderation would be appropriate.

Re:Foolish move... (-1, Troll)

itwerx (165526) | about 10 years ago | (#10246848)

Parent is a Troll!
Cisco does not own 3Com and never has. (And probably never will if 3Com management has anything to say about it).

Error (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245653)

Cisco owns 3com now. These are basically budget versions of existing Cisco products.

Next time read the article editors!

The Error is You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245662)

Cisco owns Linksys, not 3Com.

Why don't you read the article?

Re:The Error is You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245681)

And Linksys owned 3Com. See how that all works. If A buy B and B owns C then A owns C. Somone didn't pass their logic class in school!

Re:The Error is You (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245689)

Linksys doesn't own 3Com. That someone is you.

Re:The Error is You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245903)

"Linksys doesn't own 3Com. That someone is you."

In Soviet Russia you own Linksys!

Re:The Error is You (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245960)

As the original poster I just wanted to see if I could get modded up for something so ridiculously wrong, and I did. +1 Interesting.

Foolish mods.

3COM (-1, Troll)

backslashdot (95548) | about 10 years ago | (#10245672)

Umm .. 3COM ? They're still around? .. Last I heard of them it was 1999 and they were spinning off Palm. Not kidding.

Re:3COM (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 10 years ago | (#10245688)

Not kidding that you are uninformed? I don't doubt it. 3com still sells a LOT of gear.

Re:3COM (3, Informative)

keiferb (267153) | about 10 years ago | (#10245700)

Yeah, they're still kicking. They have a decent marketshare in the NIC business, and are also semi-competitive in the workgroup-level switching arena as well.

I've always sworn by their network cards... they're always the first name I turn to.

Re:3COM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245975)

Thats funny I have always sworn AT their network cards.

Re:3COM (1)

pro547 (766212) | about 10 years ago | (#10245707)

I would rather have something that has been in the game longer then something that is just starting.

Re:3COM (1)

ke4qqq (678293) | about 10 years ago | (#10246219)

You're kidding right?? The fact that 3com was founded by Metcalfe, often touted as the creator of Ethernet. Or the fact that 3com (1979) was in existence 5 years before Cisco(1984).

30-50% less? (4, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 10 years ago | (#10245691)

How hard is that? Cisco sells their name, not equipment. While they are not in the same position Intel was before Amd became a threat, it's close enough to be useful for this discussion. Cisco can charge what they want, within the realm of semi-reasonability, and they will get it. Because, it's the name, not equipment or capabilities.

3com knows this, I suspect, which is why they are lowballing them. I would even suspect they think high enough of their name to not charge less than 30-50% less than cisco stuff.

You want to entice purchasing managers, but keep your name "good" in their eyes as well.

Re:30-50% less? (5, Interesting)

jayhawk88 (160512) | about 10 years ago | (#10245749)

True story: We have a Cisco VPN (don't know model off hand) that we needed to order an extra 256 meg of RAM for. We call up our Cisco rep, and they get a price quote from Cisco of $9600. For a 256 piece of RAM. The damn VPN itself only cost like $12k. So our Cisco rep does some more calling around, trying to find out what the story is with that price, and finally comes back with a price of $450 or something like that.

So obviously this is much better and we're all relieved, and then it dawns on us: Who else other than Cisco can buy PC133 sticks of RAM in bulk for probably $10 a pound, stick a "Cisco Certified" sticker on them, then sell it to you for $450 a stick, and make you feel like you're getting a good deal?

Re:30-50% less? (4, Informative)

TylerB11 (661170) | about 10 years ago | (#10245836)

Get a 256MB CF card from them. They'll hit you for 800 Bucks, and its not even cisco-branded, its just a SMART.

Re:30-50% less? (2, Interesting)

jayhawk88 (160512) | about 10 years ago | (#10245878)

The 4210 IDS we have is basically a re-branded Dell rack mount. I needed a 256 memory upgrade for it to run the 4.x OS update, which luckly we got for free under maintenance contract, but if not would have cost us like $500. And I installed the memory, I know for a fact it wasn't anything more than a genereric DIMM stick.

Re:30-50% less? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245916)

Careful there, we have a dell in our office that apparently checks the eeprom in the stick to make sure the ram we install is "official" dell ram. Just because it looks the same on the outside doesn't mean just any old dimm will work.

Re:30-50% less? (2, Informative)

Cylix (55374) | about 10 years ago | (#10246421)

Don't forget Cisco certified standard equipment cables....

It's a standard power cable with a notch cut above it.

I think we can easily pull together a dozen or so more odd things cisco does to rape their customers.

Soon we can say, No one ever got fired for buying Cisco!

Re:30-50% less? (2, Funny)

WarlockD (623872) | about 10 years ago | (#10246496)

I HATE THOSE.

We sell auctioned Cisco equipment some times, and it takes us 30 min to carve up a power cable for it.

UGH.

Re:30-50% less? (2, Insightful)

Paulrothrock (685079) | about 10 years ago | (#10245937)

Who else other than Cisco can buy PC133 sticks of RAM in bulk for probably $10 a pound, stick a "Cisco Certified" sticker on them, then sell it to you for $450 a stick, and make you feel like you're getting a good deal?

Apple's almost as bad. $75 for 256MB of DDR333 for the eMac. That's over three times what I paid for the same RAM to upgrade my Mother-in-law's eMac.

Re:30-50% less? (1)

goober1473 (714415) | about 10 years ago | (#10246108)

Don't worry about the cost, we have 4 fairly big catalist switches, they have failed 5 times this year with hardware faults and 3 or 4 times with odd glitches which a reboot fixes.

Re:30-50% less? (2, Funny)

Agent Green (231202) | about 10 years ago | (#10245844)

3com knows this, I suspect, which is why they are lowballing them. I would even suspect they think high enough of their name to not charge less than 30-50% less than cisco stuff.

Apparently, 3Com has never heard of eBay. :)

Re:30-50% less? (5, Interesting)

gmack (197796) | about 10 years ago | (#10245849)

Too late, I've already been burned by 3Com. We had a switch show up DOA and called them for a replacement only to have them demand payment for a second switch before they would ship the replacement. When that didn't happen they told us to send the switch backand as it turned out.. they didn't even have that model in stock they told us we would get our replacement in three weeks! After fighting it out with them I managed to talk them down to a week and a half.

Contrast that with Cisco: Last time I had a Cisco with a dead port they sent me the replacement overnight delivery and then told me I had three weeks to return the old one or be sent a bill.

Cisco's advantage is their customer service. They have your back when things go bad. 3Com doesn't understand this and until they do I won't consider them a serious player.

Re:30-50% less? (2, Funny)

Karma Farmer (595141) | about 10 years ago | (#10245929)

Why didn't you just make your own replacement switch, using open bsd, some spare ethernet cards, and an old 486 you had lying around? Then, if you had problems, you could go to a mailing list or usenet newsgroup or irc chat, and get almost immediate help.

That's what real men do on slashdot. People who need technical support are wussies, or have jobs, or silly crap like that.

Re:30-50% less? (2, Informative)

fimbulvetr (598306) | about 10 years ago | (#10245987)

Apples to Oranges.
You had Cisco Smartnet, they don't advanced replace for warranty period without a contract.
Guess what? Neither does 3com.
If you would have purchased 3com's maintenance contract, http://www.3com.com/products/en_US/detail.jsp?tab= features&pathtype=purchase&sku=WEBCSO3CS10 7 [3com.com] , they would have given you advanced replacement too.

Re:30-50% less? (1)

gmack (197796) | about 10 years ago | (#10246084)

<i>You had Cisco Smartnet, they don't advanced replace for warranty period without a contract.</i>

Not with that employer(too cheap) I told them I didn't have one. Cisco will replace a dead switch even without it. When I got to the second level tech I simply read him the post error and he demanded my shipping address to send the replacement to.

Re:30-50% less? (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about 10 years ago | (#10246069)

I've had great luck with ProCurve equipment. It seems to be fairly robust, HP has great service, and they have lifetime advance replacement on all their equipment. The price is right too.

Re:30-50% less? (1)

KingPrad (518495) | about 10 years ago | (#10246198)

It is normal in tech support to get a purchase order or a credit card # before shipping a replacement. It isn't charged unless you fail to send back the first, broken unit. Did they really want to charge you or just get a PO in case they had to?

Cisco might have already had your company's billing information and thus they were happy to send you a new unit overnight without first asking for the billing info. But if you hadn't returned the broken one, they would have charged you for the second, surely.

Just my experience from working for a similar hardware company.

Re:30-50% less? (1)

gmack (197796) | about 10 years ago | (#10246503)

A credit card number would have been justifiable.. the problem was they wanted to charge the card for a $1000 piece of equipment and then refund it when the old one arrived. And yes Cisco did tell me they would have charged me for the second switch if I failed to return it. It's fair so I'm completely fine with that.

Re:30-50% less? (2, Interesting)

Zak3056 (69287) | about 10 years ago | (#10246278)

Contrast that with Cisco: Last time I had a Cisco with a dead port they sent me the replacement overnight delivery and then told me I had three weeks to return the old one or be sent a bill.

HP is similar as far as their network gear goes--lifetime warranty where the replacement part shows up on your doorstep the next morning with a prepaid label in the box to ship the defective unit back.

Re:30-50% less? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10246518)

Several years back (around the days of the Kornikova virus) we had our router start acting up. I called Cisco and explained that our network guy was 'released' from the company and they stuck me (a programmer) with his job so I did not know how this thing was configured. They telnetted into the router and found the problem, they then had me plug our cold spare in and they tftp'd the config over so they were in sync and later that night called me up to tell me that while they were in there they noticed a few other things that were configed wrong and they fixed those problems too. The next day the same tech support guy called me again and walked me through basic administration of the router so I would be more comfortable with it.

That is excellent customer service and I remember that support guy to this day.

Re:30-50% less? (1)

arnie_apesacrappin (200185) | about 10 years ago | (#10246027)

The problem with the 30-50% less that the article describes is that they use list prices. What will actually be relevant is how deep 3Com will be willing to go on VAR discounts. That $9000 they quote on the 3725 becomes more like $5400 with most corporate agreements. My guess is that 3Com will probably to a 10% discount to the VAR's so the price is basically a wash. At that point, I'll take Cisco.

Re:30-50% less? (1)

robnator (250608) | about 10 years ago | (#10246217)

Insightful, perhaps, but incomplete, Grasshoppa. Cisco sells their service, which is a warm and fuzzy security blanket, and well worth the premium they charge. Unfortunately, 3Com has no equivilant reputation in this area.

Cheers,
RobN

Re:30-50% less? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10246349)

Cisco can charge what they want, within the realm of semi-reasonability, and they will get it. Because, it's the name, not equipment or capabilities.

Not sure what land of fiction you live in, but you certainly haven't been privy to supply chain discussions in the last 5+ years. Anyone with any purchasing power leverage can influence the actual price. Quite substantially, I might add. The discount percentages Cisco quotes to various categories of customers are guidelines at best. The rest is up to how badly Cisco wants your business.

backdoors (1, Interesting)

GMail Troll (811342) | about 10 years ago | (#10245693)

Given Cisco's security history [slashdot.org] , switching to someone else might be a good idea.


gmail invite [google.com]

Re:backdoors (0)

MikeMacK (788889) | about 10 years ago | (#10245797)

So, switching to someone who just got into the business and has no history in dealing with security issues with routers, is a more secure option?

Re:backdoors (3, Insightful)

jermz (6352) | about 10 years ago | (#10245913)

Eh? Just got into the router business? 3Com has been doing routers for YEARS now. Their core business was Ethernet from the start. It was only when they started trying to do EVERYTHING ELSE that they got in trouble. They were doing packet filters on their routers before it was in style. I remember working on a NetBuilderII router back in '97-'98 and updating packet filters.

Re:backdoors (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 years ago | (#10246107)

Given that cisco deliberately installed backdoors, I'd say yes, it's a more secure option. Unless you feel it's reasonable for backdoors to be hidden in your router code...

Re:backdoors (2, Insightful)

Moskit (32486) | about 10 years ago | (#10245943)

Out of hundreds of their products one (and based on Linux!) has a problem. Big deal...

Cisco at least provides publicly information about their security problems and makes timely fixes. It makes no sense bashing them - everyone else will have a problem sooner or later...

"Given Linux security history, switching to someone else might be a good idea."

Re:backdoors (3, Funny)

talon77 (410766) | about 10 years ago | (#10246066)

Yeah, because look at how secure 3COM's officeconnect firewalls are. If you are a neophite to networking, then you can go with a 3com "my first NAT device" or now, a 3com "my first router". But if you have an office enviorment, you might want to look at a real security product, such as a PIX.

Interesting move for 3Com... (3, Interesting)

Vexler (127353) | about 10 years ago | (#10245701)

You know, a while ago Cisco brought suit against the Chinese technology company Huawei for allegedly stealing Cisco's IOS interface and perhaps even code for their routers. I believe the suit was eventually settled with Huawei agreeing that they will "cease and desist". And now 3Com seems to have buddied up with Huawei and come up with their own line of routers, which seems to be 3Com's attempt to be everything to everybody. The problem is that you can only cram so much technology into the box without charging extra for it, as 3Com is doing. With Cisco's dominance in the market place, sooner or later it will hit you in the bottom line and you will be left with very limited set of choices.

Re:Interesting move for 3Com... (3, Informative)

Portigui (651730) | about 10 years ago | (#10245826)

A little background info on this:

Info about the suit [theregister.co.uk]
Info about the settlement [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Interesting move for 3Com... (1)

Vexler (127353) | about 10 years ago | (#10246694)

It is interesting that the second article notes that, unlike most other competitors who failed to undercut Cisco's market, Huawei represents a relatively new way of breaking into a market as a competitor from the Far East. The key for Huawei, of course, was to steal and otherwise obtain illegally any proprietary Cisco code that they could find. I suppose this is not at all an "innovative" way of introducing yourself into a new market, as many other companies have done so in the past, some more successfully [microsoft.com] than others.

Re:Interesting move for 3Com... (2, Funny)

jayhawk88 (160512) | about 10 years ago | (#10245850)

I'll have you know that 3Com's line of routers have a default username/password of 3Com/oakland. So clearly they are a seperate and complete product from Cisco's line of routers, and there is no chance whatsoever that any of Cisco's code was used to create the 3Com router code.

Re:Interesting move for 3Com... (1)

mborohovski (640446) | about 10 years ago | (#10246029)

Right, because obviously default usernames and passwords can't be changed ;)

Re:Interesting move for 3Com... (1)

LordNimon (85072) | about 10 years ago | (#10246210)

Wow, you're smart!

Cisco should be scared (0)

tod_miller (792541) | about 10 years ago | (#10245719)

I am only associated with our network equiptment through modest inquisitiveness, and I even know cisco are only a brand.

3com, level1, and linksys are out there. As customer awareness for these products grow (i.e. they know WHAT they do) they can actually shop around, rather than think, oh, erm, I need a cisco.

Re:Cisco should be scared (5, Informative)

firebeaker (52242) | about 10 years ago | (#10245743)

If I recall, Cisco owns Linksys....

Response to Cisco & Linksys (1)

tod_miller (792541) | about 10 years ago | (#10246130)

My linksys must be pre-cisco - no sign on there, but this shows that they are scared of competition, buying out competitors that are small enough perhaps....

Come ON! Was: Response to Cisco & Linksys (1)

LucidityZero (602202) | about 10 years ago | (#10246650)

but this shows that they are scared of competition, buying out competitors that are small enough perhaps....
You weren't around in the late 90's during the tech boom, were you? Cisco has always been notorious for purchasing companies to enter new market space. Many of the products Cisco offers today were originally produced by other companies, and when seen viable they were snatched up by Cisco.

I don't think it's that Cisco is scared. I think it's smart business. It's exactly actions like purchasing Linksys that has gotten Cisco to where they are today.

Re:Cisco should be scared (1, Informative)

jumpingfred (244629) | about 10 years ago | (#10245752)

Linksys was bought by cisco.

Umm, there's something you should know. (0, Redundant)

AltGrendel (175092) | about 10 years ago | (#10245759)

Cisco bought out Lynksys.

Re:Cisco should be scared (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245783)

Cisco owns Linksys, so no competition there.

Re:Cisco should be scared (0, Redundant)

d_force (249909) | about 10 years ago | (#10245796)

3com, level1, and linksys are out there. As customer awareness for these products grow...

Allow me to increase your awareness... Linksys is a division of Cisco. That's why you see the "Copyright 2003 Cisco Systems, Inc." at the bottom of the Linksys home page [linksys.com] .

-- dforce

Heh (4, Funny)

Gannoc (210256) | about 10 years ago | (#10245736)

The new routers compete the Cisco's 3725, 3745, and 83xx routers.

Hehe.

The new routers compete the Cisco. 3com have no chance to survive make your time.

Re:Heh (1)

Timmmm (636430) | about 10 years ago | (#10245802)

The new routers compete the Cisco's 3725, 3745, and 83xx routers.

Compete *with*.

Honestly do you people even read what you're posting?

Re:Heh (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | about 10 years ago | (#10245874)

Dude, he's trying to use poor english, read the rest of the line. It's straight from zero wing, the poorly translated game released for the sega genesis.
http://www.allyourbasearebelongtous.com/ [allyourbas...ngtous.com]

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10246168)

> Honestly do you people even read what you're posting?

Maybe that should be:
Honestly do you people even read what you're posting?

That said, he was spoofing the old Zero Wing game Engrish, for some reason.

Re:Heh (3, Informative)

m0rningstar (301842) | about 10 years ago | (#10245833)

And, today, Cisco basically announced the replacement for the 1700, 2600 and the 3745.

From URL:http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2004/prod_09140 4.html?CMP=ILC-001): ...The Cisco 1800 Series, 2800 Series and 3800 Series integrated services router will begin at list prices of $1395, $1995 and $9500, respectively. The new Cisco 1800 and 2800 Series routers will be available in September 2004 and the Cisco 3800 Series routers will be available in October 2004...

New features appear to include a higher and easier integration of VoIP/IPT and security and a new WIC interface with higher speeds (1000FX WIC, for instance).

Re:Heh (1)

Trigun (685027) | about 10 years ago | (#10245847)

So I'll be able to pick up some 1700's, 2600's and 3700's for cheap on e-bay. Looks like now's the time to go for the certs!

Roll Out the Red Carpet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245754)

I, For one, wecome our new 3com overlords! "Here's the new boss, same as the old boss"

i rather like 3com network software (3, Interesting)

PhiberOptix (182584) | about 10 years ago | (#10245781)

Here where i work i would rather use 3com than cisco. Even though pretty much every equipment we have is from cisco, imo 3com software is much easier to use than ciscos ios.

also i hate all the different software versions (SMI, EMI, etc) that comes preinstalled in cisco switches.

Re:i rather like 3com network software (1)

mikael (484) | about 10 years ago | (#10246160)

also i hate all the different software versions (SMI, EMI, etc) that comes preinstalled in cisco switches.

That's how Cisco got to where they are today. They kept bundling every single possible protocol into their boxes as fast as they could. Everything from TCP/IP to ATM to Berkeley trailer packets. If they couldn't get graduates straight out of university, they'd buy out their competitors and add their software.

I worked for a medium sized company that made routers/bridges/network probes back in the mid 90's. There was no way we could compete against the salaries or the constant stream of new and proprietary protocols.

Interesting (2, Interesting)

ryg0r (699756) | about 10 years ago | (#10245782)

Cisco certainly has a large grip on the enterprise router market, 90% the article says.

Most of the time coporate bodies switch on price (or just fire more people) so good work 3Com.

When that article came up on /. [slashdot.org] I knew that more brands of routers need to hit the market and quickly.

With one company, you inherent all the faults of that company. With different companies coming up to play the game, you'd have vastly different gaps and holes.

Its all about moving away from the typical exploits.

Hmmm, I think posting late at night makes my sentences incoherent. Sorry guys.

Should I bother with my CCNA and CCNP, (4, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | about 10 years ago | (#10245784)

Or can I get the same certificates from 3com for 30-50% less work and knowledge?

Re:Should I bother with my CCNA and CCNP, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245819)

You mean "for 30-50% more braindumps"...

Haw, haw, haw.

Confused (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#10245800)

For this article to be posted, we must either hate or love one of Cisco or 3Com.

I can't think of any reason to particularly give a hoot about either, but this non-news article could only have been posted as a chance to flame a company we hate, or praise a company we love.

Re:Confused (1)

Compholio (770966) | about 10 years ago | (#10245902)

We're supposed to be rooting for the underdog (we've kind of got that theme here).

Re:Confused (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#10245981)

Who's the underdog, though?

They're both electronics mega-corporations.

I mean, if Cisco put their routers in translucent pink cases and called them iRoutes and charged 3x as much as they're worth, the "hero" of the story would be obvious.

And then 3Com is the evil, uninnovative villian creeping in to steal their business away.

But that's not the case. Cisco has the price, but not the hipster translucent plastic housings.

Re:Confused (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 years ago | (#10246137)

Yeah, or as an advertisement. You know, like 99% of the stories in it.slashdot.org. (Is it just me or is it aggravating to have to change the url to fix the stupid color scheme? Why are color schemes not user-configurable per-section?)

Faster Better Cheaper, pick two.... (3, Informative)

Mr.Senator (813079) | about 10 years ago | (#10245845)

3Com is claiming exactly what everyone wishes to claim, their product is better, their service is better and more in tune with what the customer wants, and above all its cheaper. What they are claiming is not even possible by NASA. You can't have everything as it goes. Every company has found this out and concentrated on 2 of the above. Cisco has decided to provide the best but for a premium, 3com wants it all for less. How do they see themselves as competing against the industy measuring stick in product AND provide it cheaper? Last time I saw one of these claims wasn't from a Fortune 500 company, it was an infomercial declaring its blender could take the place of 50+ kitchen appliences. In this world of computers you get what you pay for and only stiff compitition can drive down a price, not a loose claim from an outdated company. 3com may have balls to make such a large claim, but obviously not the brains to make it happen.

Re:Faster Better Cheaper, pick two.... (2, Interesting)

e1618978 (598967) | about 10 years ago | (#10245951)

Yes you can have it all, because Cisco has an 80% margin or something. You can under charge them by a whole lot and still make money. You could spend twice as much per customer to get them more of what they want, charge half what Cisco does, and still make money. BTW - NASA sucks. They spend way too much money to accomplish way too little, so not a good example there.

Used to work for Cisco (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245854)

I used to work for them, and I will say each component in their line is probably overpriced for what it is.

That said, you don't just pay for the name, you pay for the brand, the relationship, the support, and the leadership. They do something similar to what Microsoft does, but in a much more benign way, IMHO. They make sure their products work well and give advantages in the way they interact with other Cisco equipment, but then they work with others on interoperability as well. This creates a level playing field and allows "innovation" in important areas, but then they work closely with standards bodies to standardize the parts that "deserve" to be universally applied across the whole internet.

One such example is multicasting. There are many different standards for multicasting, *even across Cisco's own line*! However, they will work to standardize it and then implement that standard on all of their routers and encourage others to do the same through marketing, partnering, and collaborative development. They line up everyone in advance, even competitors, and work to get such a standard universally accepted.

Basically, they really do have true leadership. They choose the protocols and technologies that have a chance of getting wide adoption, and make sure that they are the ones behind them. That increases their visibility and credibility in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Of course, I might be biased from having worked with them, so I would love to hear other opinions. I came away thinking that it's a first class organization, and while not perfect, is certainly a model for how competition, cooperation, and coordination should interact.

Re:Used to work for Cisco (1)

salvorHardin (737162) | about 10 years ago | (#10246303)

I used to work for 3Com, back in 1996. It seems amusing to see the headline about 3Com products being launched to compete with Cisco, as back then, 3Com viewed themselves as *the* competition for Cisco, and indeed way ahead of any offerings from Madge, Cabletron, Newbridge and Bay. Nowadays, I'm sure it's a very different story.

Re:Used to work for Cisco (2, Interesting)

Vexler (127353) | about 10 years ago | (#10246841)

We have had extremely patient Cisco TAC engineers on the phone with us for hours trying to resolve a Catalyst 4507R that kept blowing power supplies, and a VPN Concentrator that refused all connectivity after a firmware upgrade (by the way, we were credited with the discovery of a previously unknown bug). If ever their gears go on the blink, you have TAC engineers leaving messages on YOUR voicemail days after the incident was resolved, following up with you to make sure that you are absolutely satisfied with the resolution.

It's not just the brand, it's the whole support infrastructure with them. Cisco is to the networking world what Dell is to the PC world, in terms of customer support caliber.

Wait and see (3, Insightful)

Mateito (746185) | about 10 years ago | (#10245907)

I love Cisco stuff. I does everything I want, it does it well, and it doesn't break.

3com have some good products, but in my experience they don't scale. If I was installing a 10 person office, a 3com firewall and switch is fine. But I wouldn't put 3Com anywhere except the access layer.

I'd also avoid 3coms VoIP solutions. I don't like their WoS, and the NBX is a dog. I'm not about to recommended Cisco because I have no experience with it, but 3Com won't even make it to the short list.

Didn't know about the NetGear/Juniper fusion. Juniper's high-end stuff is great, but way more than all but the largest enterprises and carriers would need. The Netgear lines will complement this well.

Re:Wait and see (2, Funny)

maxbang (598632) | about 10 years ago | (#10246011)

Your comparisons are insightful, indeed. But you forget that THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!

*runs screaming into net ops room, kitana drawn...*

It's about time (1)

wtoconnor (221184) | about 10 years ago | (#10245923)

Cisco took away a market 3COM basically help create. Tens years after the fact 3COM decides it must compete with Cisco. What a revelation.

access router competition (2, Interesting)

agristin (750854) | about 10 years ago | (#10245964)


Cisco is in an interesting position in spite of buying linksys, they will face competition from 3com (who is positioned below them in the market now) and from above by Juniper. Both Juniper and 3Com are getting into the access router comptetion.

I'd like to know if 3com has some or any of the convergence features (voip, ipv6, qos, multicast) that new networks often need. Cisco access routers may cost, but it is easy to implement a network with some excellent modern features. Cisco has a modular product line that will allow you to implement without VOIP or other features and then later add it easily. It is also easy to find people familiar with cisco IOS command line. You may pay less for a 3com router, and then waste time configuring it or finding out you can't configure the features you need.

For Juniper a different set of problems (as there are a few people out there that know JunOS and there is a training infrastructure for it like Cisco). Juniper may have the convergence features (I don't know I haven't looked at the product line), but it is more likely as they are moving from the top down.

Cisco will face some interesting comptetion, but I'm sure they will respond- which can only be good for the customer.

-A

Disclaimer: I am Cisco certified and like using their networking equipment.

Too late, and no voice support (4, Interesting)

tlon (154006) | about 10 years ago | (#10245965)

The author mentions that these products compete against the Cisco 3725, 3745, and 83xx (that should read 8xx series) routers.

In related news, Cisco today announced three new router families, the 1800 series, the 2800 series, and the 3800 series, which are positioned to replace the 1700, 2600, and 3700 series. Nice of 3Com to position against an obsolete technology platform

Competitors are crawling out of the woodwork with products positioned against Cisco's old tired iron, but Cisco isn't exactly sitting back on its laurels and scratching its head.

What all these competitors are missing is that Cisco's router strategy has subtly changed in the last 18 months: voice features and services are a key part of Cisco's differentiation, and none of its competitors, be it Juniper, ADTRAN, Tasman, Enterasys, or 3Com, have stepped up to challenge Cisco on that front.

VoIP is an ideal in the branch office, and Cisco is in a cushy position to get a corner on that market unless some of its competitors get their act together.

3com nics.. great.. 3com switches.. ugh.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10245979)

Unless 3com has finally fixed their issues with autodetection of 3com nics working with their 3com switches.. forget about it..

I know Cisco stuff works.. and it's EXPENSIVE.. personally i LOVE alcatel switches.. they worked as advertised.. and unlike cisco.. were pretty simple to configure.. I hate cisco IOS.. unless you use it all the time.. every day.. it's impossible to configure without having to go back and make changes before you get it right.. that and IOS isn't consistent across platforms.. what works on a 3600 doesn't necessairly work on a switch.. doesn't necessairly work on a cat5000..

Alcatel.. good gear.. too bad more people don't use it.

Yuo Fail it? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10246015)

the m0st vibr4nt

3Com's got a nasty habit..... (2, Interesting)

ARRRLovin (807926) | about 10 years ago | (#10246033)

....of discontinuing products and then removing every trace of that product on their website (firmware, manuals, etc) and that will keep me from ever buying or recommending their products. I have an entire wireless setup at home, 3 "Office Gateways" and some other gear (not in use) that I should just throw away because they don't even acknowledge its existence, much less provide me with a PCMCIA card driver or access point/router firmware.

There are no 83xx ciscos (0, Redundant)

Jerdie (516662) | about 10 years ago | (#10246038)

The article says 83x.

3Com's history (4, Informative)

mrscott (548097) | about 10 years ago | (#10246125)

3Com used to be in the higher end switching market with pretty big gear - the Corebuilder 9000 was their high end chassis and was NICE. In fact, at one point (1999), they were the number two vendor in the market right behind Cisco. After working with 3Com and Cisco for a replacement of my campus network (I managed the network group at a college at the time), I selected 3Com based on the equipment features and the VERY attractive price in relation to the Cisco solution. The sales reps from 3Com were confident in the solution and in the support we'd get from 3Com moving forward
Two months after my installation was complete, 3Com EXITED the market. Yes - they immediately discontinued ALL of the brand new gear that we had just purchased. No notice. On a Monday morning, it was in the papers.
They botched their rep ALL over the place. I doubt I'd touch their new gear with a 10 foot pole. They're one of the flakiest companies I've ever had the misfortune to work with. Good gear, but absolutely horrid management.

3Com Routers (3, Insightful)

liam193 (571414) | about 10 years ago | (#10246143)

That's an interesting thought. Didn't I hear about those somewhere before. Yeah, that's it. They used to sell routers and vacated the market. Rather quickly if I recall and a number of people got stuck with gear that they couldn't use.

I just don't know how quickly people will be to jump on the bandwagon with an organization that left many of there customers hanging with a "we're not doing this business anymore" message 3-4 years ago.

Atrocious quality (2, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | about 10 years ago | (#10246159)

3com is a low-quality manufacturer and has been at least for the last 10 years. And I am talking manufacturing and design here.

My first experience was a 10-pack of 3com network cards about 8 years back: Some were fast, some were slow, some produced so many bugs that the router (Cisco) disabled the interface. These were cards with consecutive serial numbers! My explanation is very poor Q/A on the cards. I never have had this type of problems with any cheack RTL8xxx card from Taiwan.

The second experience was an unusable "Office" switch, that had a noisy and very poorly designed switching regulator in it. That was 1 year back. The switch finally died becayse they also had cut the leads of the power semiconductor too long and in short-circuited. I declined a replacement, since it also ran so hot, that it would have dies in a few months anyway. I have now a far cheaprt router by Netgear, with no such problems and overall far more solid design and manufacturing. And cheaper as well.

I'm sure I'm not the only one (2, Insightful)

dougnaka (631080) | about 10 years ago | (#10246194)

Who will never buy anything with the 3com name one it. I'm no fan of Cisco's overpriced junk, but 3com really brings home the title of crappiest hubs, switches, and network cards. When dell shipped 3com cards I had a pile of them on my desk, we're talking failure rates over 80% from brand new in less than a month. And I've had 3 3com switches, all had more than 50% of the ports dead.. There's little to no chance they can redeem their brand from me.

I'd pay more for an unknown brand because at least I have a chance at it working.

News Flash! (0, Troll)

everklear (553968) | about 10 years ago | (#10246239)

Maker of switching and networking gear intends to compete with maker of switching and networking gear! Stop the presses! Yes Cisco dominates, but 3Com has been trying to win a bigger market share in this arena for many years. They even do *gasp* IP telephony.

3com? Boo! (4, Informative)

telemonster (605238) | about 10 years ago | (#10246501)

Okay, so recently I had the misfortune of using some 3com NICs in FreeBSD servers for a project. I hereby swear off the use of 3com cards. I notice that on multiple switches the thruput is horrible (Cabletron ELS and 7C, Netgear, Cisco 5513).

Also, where I used to work they bought a 3com RAS solution. The CLI was pretty bad compared to my favorite at the time, Livingston Portmasters. It was overpriced, and just seemed like a botched design with the CPU in one box and a $2000 add on with 4 modems in it.

Some people seem to have a thing for 3com. I think it is mostly the people that used their cards when 3com was the major player. Their earlier switches do seem rugged, but I'd probably look to SMC Tigerswitch (owned by Enterasys now?) before 3com for a SOHO deployment. I'm odd, even for SOHO I like managed switches and rackmount. And metal boxes, I dig NetGears form factors. PS, is NetGear still tied to Bay? Bay was sold to Nortel, Netgear used to be Bay Networks. Is Netgear Notel or the existing Bay Networks? Confusion.

I'd imagine it is management that plauges 3com. They announced the end of all high end products a while ago, since Cisco's market share was owning them (and others like Riverstone, Extreme, Enterasys, Foundry). They wanted to concentrate on their NICs (one word, intel Pro 10/100) and little baby network devices.

Cisco dominates the market. I own a few pieces of Cisco gear, ALOT of Cabletron/Enterasys surplus and many of the smaller vendors. Cisco gear is indeed nice, I like it but there is a premium to be paid (unless your like me and buy from eBay, a practice Cisco tried unsuccessfully to stop).

There have been alot of small players that might have competed but the major players buy them up. Prominet got bought by Lucent, their products became the Cajun family (and Intel resold some of their stuff). There are others (ELS series from Cabletron was a smaller company that got bought out). You can see it when you dig thru the firmware binaries :-) Look for copyrights and look up the no-names you see on the copyrights.

Re:3com? Boo! (1)

Vexler (127353) | about 10 years ago | (#10246769)

To be fair, I have used my share of 3Com NICs and have never had any major problems with them. Oh, sure, with the older cards you had to tweak the settings, but nothing major to which you now refer. That's my experience with their NICs.

Their switches and routers are a different story, I'll grant you that. We had really old 3Com switches and routers in here that are hard to use and not as reliable, and I've personally witnessed before a single Cabletron card taking out connectivity to all the sites of a major East Coast healthcare insurer (who shall remain anonymous). Forget their high-end stuff if you must, but their NICs are better IMHO.

I won't trust them again. (3, Interesting)

jonesboy_damnit (773676) | about 10 years ago | (#10246528)

..3Com used to make all kinds of high-end networking gear (those of you in the cable industry will be familiar with 3Com CMTSes). Their kit never adhered to standards ("DOCSIS? What's DOCSIS?" - as if DOCSIS equipment needed any help being incompatible and/or unpredictable with other DOCSIS gear), never worked properly, and their support was always terrible.
One of our customers bought about $50k worth of 3Com broadband over cable equipment, called a few days later to ask about a firmware upgrade, and were informed that 3Com had never made such a piece of equipment.
Classy.
-Matt

Cisco at the high end, Adtran at the low end (1)

zerofoo (262795) | about 10 years ago | (#10246898)

Is there really a market for another cheap router? Our last ISP (years ago) gave us a 2500 series cisco router. It was great, built well, fast and it even had an ISDN backup for the T1 circuit. Nice gear, never had a day of downtime due to the router in 5 years, but pricey.

Now we've got an Adtran. Literally, one third the cost of the cisco, performs just as well (without ISDN backup). Lots of ISPs are switching to Adtran stuff because it's cheap and it works.

Remind me again why we need MORE cheap routers?

-ted

Cisco IOS (1)

crimson30 (172250) | about 10 years ago | (#10246906)

Will their hardware be able to run Cisco IOS? If not, will their OS be nearly the same?
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