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3com to Compete with Cisco 181

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the there-can-be-only-one-or-maybe-more dept.
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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3com to Compete with Cisco

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  • but will it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anarke_Incarnate (733529) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:21AM (#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.
    • Re:but will it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)
      Juniper has picked up some nice tech. Netscreen's firewall products are very nice. The Neoteris (Netscreen / Juniper) "SSL VPN" access solution is increadibly useful. But how will Juniper handle these aquisitions?

      I'm especially interested since my team purchased and manages both Netscreen and Neoteris (before either went through the current tree of aquisition) products. And unfortunately, all we've gotten for the Juniper name is an increased maintenance cost and decreased quality of service. We'll hav
  • Foolish move... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    3Com's router/switch business got beat up precisely because it couldn't compete with Cisco gears. Are they back for more black eyes?
    • What I want to know was when Cisco got into the gear business.

      I knew that Cisco make routing equipment, but I didn't know they had also branched out into gear making!

      I'm expecting that when they repair the clock tower in my home town they'll be a "Powered by Cisco" sticker on the side of the thing.
  • 30-50% less? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:27AM (#10245691) Homepage
    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? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:33AM (#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? (Score:4, Informative)

        by TylerB11 (661170) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:41AM (#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? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jayhawk88 (160512)
          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? (Score:3, Informative)

          by Cylix (55374) *
          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!
          • 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.
          • It's a standard power cable with a notch cut above it.

            Are they, really? I always thought they were higer rated cables (more amperes capacity).

            I have had some dinky cables heat up when connected to some medium size equipment.
          • Don't forget Cisco certified standard equipment cables....

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


            WRONG I'm not going to defend Cisco at all for things they've actually DONE, but try to learn something before spouting off on things about which you clearly have no knowledge.

            The power cable plug you are most likely referring to is a C15. It looks like a C13 with a notch in it. But it's not. A C15 is rated for more amperage and higer temperatures.
      • Re:30-50% less? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Paulrothrock (685079)
        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.

        • Ostensibly, the difference is that Apple won't support your ram. Apple's high prices are generally due to their awesome guarantees and stellar support...they have to add in the annuitized cost of having to perform service or a recall, which I'm sure is expensive (they next day EVERYTHING, even those battery replacements)! If it costs $300 in shipping and labor costs to repair a single stick of ram, and there's a one-in-twenty chance that a piece of ram will develop a problem over the life of the warranty,
      • Re:30-50% less? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by H8X55 (650339)
        This is industry standard upgrade practice. Dell does it too. Years ago we paid an arm and a leg (hundreds of dollars) for a "memory upgrade" for a PERC3 DCL Raid Controller in a Poweredge server. Imagine how pissed my boss was when it came in and the 128MB stick of SDRAM matched perfectly the sticks we were buying from Crucial.com for $26 each, shipped.

        that one should have went back, but it didn't because corporate had already cut the check and bossman had to save face - "Now our e-mail server is fas
    • 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? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gmack (197796) <gmackNO@SPAMinnerfire.net> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:43AM (#10245849) Homepage Journal
      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.
      • 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.
        • Or they do not really have the time to fuck around with OpenBSD. Calling Ciso takes 10 minutes. If you can create, build, install and get to work a 486 with multiple Ethernet cards to build a SWITCH in 10 minute I will bow before you. Time = Money.
      • 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.
        • Some models of HP equipment are just Cisco gear with some different looks. I know the SAN swithes are. Maybe that's why you got good support! I seem to hear more support issues with HP/Compaq than anyone else. Personally I've never had a problem with HP other than they (like Cisco) charge you for the name more than the features.
      • 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.

        Ju
        • 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? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zak3056 (69287)
        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.

      • I've already been burned by 3Com.

        Same here. Their switch quality has taken a dive the last couple years. They're put together with flimsy sheetmetal and no standoffs (sheetmetal screws!). They flex so bad we had new ones coming in with screws rattling around inside. We quit using them immedtately thereafter but while we still had some in stock we had to open every one of them to make sure everything was still connected properly. Not to mention how the PCB's flap in the breeze...
        Yech. And 3Com us
      • I might have to second that. One day I was getting HIGHLY erratic behaviour on out network. Virus filters didn't catch anything. Everything (workstations and server) were all fully patched. No lag or latency from the ISP, NOTHING!!! After almost 3-5 hours of head scratching and no trails, I found the problem. A 3COM hub was screwed up. A FUCKEN HUB! Replaced it, and immediatly everything went back to status quo.......they now made it on my blacklist.
    • 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.

    • If the only thing accomplished by 3Com's entry into this market (and subsequent exit a year or so later) is lower Cisco prices for me, then it is a good thing. C'mon 3Com, let's see what you've got.
    • well, i don't know they are that bad in the corporate market, but they do make pretty good hardware.

      i remeember having this ethernet card from 3Com that really performs faster than another taiwanese card which i've got, albeit at 3X the price.

      i've got to admit their support really sucks, not that i've tried it before, but something about them.. they seem too arrogant, even http://support.3com.com smells of "fuck off, we don't want to see you here"

  • by Vexler (127353) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:28AM (#10245701) Journal
    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.
    • A little background info on this:

      Info about the suit [theregister.co.uk]
      Info about the settlement [theregister.co.uk]
      • 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 successfull [microsoft.com]
    • 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.
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gannoc (210256) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:32AM (#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 (Score:3, Informative)

      by m0rningstar (301842)
      And, today, Cisco basically announced the replacement for the 1700, 2600 and the 3745.

      From URL:http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2004/prod_0914 0 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 easie
  • by PhiberOptix (182584) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:36AM (#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.
    • 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
  • by Trigun (685027) <evil@@@evilempire...ath...cx> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:36AM (#10245784)
    Or can I get the same certificates from 3com for 30-50% less work and knowledge?
  • Confused (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    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.

    • We're supposed to be rooting for the underdog (we've kind of got that theme here).
    • 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?)
  • by Mr.Senator (813079) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:43AM (#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.
    • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:44AM (#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.
    • by Vexler (127353)
      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 wi
    • I used to work for them too. I feel much the same about their standards work.

      3Com, by comparison, has some of the worst command-line stuff I've ever had to work with. Their hardware quality sucked. The last straw for them was the way they exited the Enterprise market. One of the local Universities had a 3Com ATM backbone. They had a problem where the whole set of backbone switches would crash, requiring a power cycle to recover. They called 3Com - 3Com support's answer was "Sorry, we don't support that a
  • Wait and see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mateito (746185) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:50AM (#10245907) Homepage
    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.

    • by maxbang (598632)

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

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


  • 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
  • by tlon (154006) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:55AM (#10245965) Homepage

    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.

    • Well sometimes getting the old tech is useful. Many people just need the simple stuff and if they can save 30% what the heck. Sure techs like to have all the neat and cool stuff but most people don't even use 20% of all the features there is to offer. So might as well pay less for someting with less features but more % of features you will use. Why do you think the Sun is hurting, although Sun has great products and a lot of truly inovative features in the OS an their Hardware, People don't really need m
  • ....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.
  • 3Com's history (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrscott (548097) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @10:08AM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by liam193 (571414) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @10:10AM (#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 (Score:3, Informative)

    by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @10:13AM (#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.

    • Agreed. We have had more problems with 3com layer2 managed switches than any of the Cisco stuff we bought. You get what you pay for, and Cisco was always there for us with a updated firmware, work around, *something* to get the network going again.

      3com was fairly lax about the whole thing and the switches were eventually canned and Cisco green sits in their place. (The switches were purchased by managment somewhere along the line, judging by price alone)

      On a side note, one of the signs of intelligent life
  • by dougnaka (631080) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @10:17AM (#10246194) Homepage Journal
    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.

    • And even if they were *good*, they were still the guys that had boxes at Fry's, $75 for a NIC next to a D-Link for $10. Never dealt with their enterprise gear other than some already purchased and installed switches, but their consumer grade stuff was so overpriced it wasn't even funny.

      But their name sold. There were a number of times I had to tell people I saw in the store "Just grab the $10 OEM NE2000. It's a fraction of the cost and will work with everything."
  • 3com? Boo! (Score:5, Informative)

    by telemonster (605238) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @10:39AM (#10246501) Homepage
    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.
    • 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
  • by jonesboy_damnit (773676) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @10:41AM (#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
    • Bullsh*t.

      The 3Com CMTS 1000 system based off the TotalControl (which was a USR platform anyways) chassis, was DOCSIS 1.0 , so much do CableLabs chose it as the standard platform for DOCSIS testbed.

      The earlier platform wasn't DOCSIS, then again before y2k neither were many popular CMTS systems (Terayon's CDMA)

      http://www.3com.com/corpinfo/en_US/pressbox/pres s_ release.jsp?INFO_ID=7339
  • 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 rou
  • by sleighb0y (141660) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @11:55AM (#10247379) Homepage
    Purchased [mikrotik.com]

    Free [freesco.org]

    Secure [openbsd.org]


    Any combination of the above three.
  • Software (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hhawk (26580)
    Back in the day when I was buying my first real Router a 20k unit from Cisco I had looked at a similar 3com offering. It was clear it was better on a pure packet handling basis, but the software wasn't anything I needed. I think it did some Novel Routing and TCP/IP (et. al.), but I didn't have support for sample for giving ethernet routing to Apple computers "then" still on LocalTalk (a key feature for me); but it was more than just Apple support. Cisco had much more software in Router to really let me set
  • My 3com experience (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I don't use 3com NICs that much - I mostly use intel cards. I didn't have the problems others have described with their NICs, the failure rate may have been a little higher than the others, but I stopped using them because we noticed a considerable performance gain from using intel cards (not because their hardware failed so much)...

    Where I really draw experience from 3com is their switches and routers, neither of which I'll ever use again.

    Scenario:
    1 x 7513 connected to a switch via a PA-2FE on a VIP2-50
    1
  • Of course! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by glass_window (207262)
    They had to make up for the fact that they can't sell a 14.4 modem for $300 anymore!
  • IOS-like CLI? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cpghost (719344) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @12:48PM (#10247959) Homepage

    Only if 3Com provided a IOS-like command line interface will they be able to gain market share among trained CCIE/CCNA/... personnel. Of course, they will have to provide high quality (*cough*) equipment too...

    • "Only if 3Com provided a IOS-like command line interface"

      The only non-NIC 3com device I'm familiar with is my $300 OfficeConnect Dual 56k LAN modem (I didn't see anything else out there like it at the time). While "everything" is "supposed" to be configurable, there is an undocumented, unsupported, disavowed CLI interface [hal-pc.org] accessable through Telnet that does a lot more than their port 80 stuff can do (like, say, filtering). Unfortunately, it's malformed (as if the people who made it cobbled it together l
  • Cisco Equipment (Score:2, Informative)

    by Arjuna01 (85430)
    I work in an environment with a mix of Cisco 2600, 3600, and 3700 routers and Cisco 2900XL, 2950, and 2970 switches. I can tell you from experience 3Com will never get in the door here with their substandard goods. We've had countless 3Com 3C905, 3C509, etc etc NIC's go bad for no reason. I wouldn't trust our business to 3Com switches or routers.

    I would consider Juniper or Foundry equipment for certain applications, but not without demo hardware first to see how they integrated into our stricly Cisco ne
  • by bs_02_06_02 (670476) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @03:42PM (#10249804)


    I love it when bean counters decide that years of end-user pain and agony is worth $500 or $1000 savings on a cheap piece of hardware.

    I've installed, maintained, configured, and troubleshooted hundreds of routers over the past 10 years. Hardware costs are not the only thing to consider. If you think saving 30%-50% in hardware costs is great, how about spending 200% more in labor costs, year after year? How about outfitting your NOC with an expensive new monitoring package exclusively designed for your new hardware? How about facing growth limits? How about watching your network go from 99.9999% uptime to something less?
    What do you tell your customer/client base? "We're saving $1000 per router. I'm sorry that you'll have to live with ______ and ______ for the next few years." What is that worth to you? When there is trouble, listen to the vendors bicker over the reason(s). What is it worth to wait 1 year or more for a bug fix? And then discover that in order to get that bug fix, you might have to buy new hardware?

    People don't realize what's involved in building a network. Reliability, room-for-growth, and features are everything. There are problems in every network. Giving your users a productive, working environment is the ultimate goal. Gambling with new hardware is not something I'd like to do very often.
    I can guarantee this: I'll pay double for a reliable piece of hardware that does EXACTLY what I want, all the time when I know that the other end is the same brand of hardware. Plus, the carrier in between is using the same hardware. Plus, it's been lab tested by everyone. It gets better: One phone call and all my problems and answers are readily available. Every one of those things saves time and money. User experience is more positive because features are better, and there isn't any finger pointing between hardware vendors. I don't have to spend money buying multiple hardware platforms to labtest. I don't have to worry about mixed-vendor networks. Have you ever installed a mixed-vendor network? It's one of the most painful experiences you could ever have. I would put it right up there with kidney stones, and having fingernails forcibly removed with a pair of pliers.

    Bean counters that want cheap hardware are usually going to pay increased labor costs. They will have workarounds and painful experiences for their end-users. It's NOT WORTH IT! If you want 99.9999% uptime, error-free performance, buy the best product available.

    Cheap hardware is almost always feature-less, inflexible, and painful to live with. How many people remember 3Com's last go-around with routers? Easy to configure, but limited flexibility, and lacking features makes it harder to live with in the long run. Oh, and darn near impossible to troubleshoot. We had to outfit all of our technicians with $100K protocol analyzers to prove the trouble to cheap 3Com (and other) hardware because of the finger-pointing.

    Look at it another way: If you're buying a Cadillac for the home office, why would you buy a Ford Pinto for the remote offices? It doesn't make sense. If you were building a space shuttle... are you going to use the cheapest hardware? Why would you do that with your network? There's a reason why Cisco has 90% of the market. Cisco has the most features. Everything hinges on software. While there are bugs in software, Cisco OS is fantastic. Features like EIGRP and HSRP make Cisco worthwhile. Interoperability with Cisco's LAN equipment make it worthwhile. Also, think about training, grey market materials, and used goods. Cisco is out there, commonly available. If you pick 3Com access routers, you've got to hire/train people to handle a new brand of unknown hardware. Training is expensive. And if your best-trained expert leaves, you've got to go find someone else. Finding Cisco people is easier.

    People talk about Juniper. Juniper excels at one specific niche. The big, big router... basically IP to OC48 stuff. How many of those do you need? Juniper talks about the "pepsi challenge", but frankly, they'll have to go over and above Cisco to win my vote. There are other products, but you still end up with a mixed-vendor network.

  • 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.'

    Cisco's routers at $9,000 and 3Com's undercutting those prices at $6,000 isn't hard to do when it's my understanding that you can do all or almost all of the features of those with a 233MHZ Pentium, a 1GB hard drive with CDROM, 64Meg of memory and any version of Linux or BSD and a couple of 4-port 100mbit

  • 3 Com had decent products last timeand they were dumped from this market segment. I have no idea how they think they are going to compete a second time by dangling a price in front of an IT wonk. Any admins here want to risk their jobs?

    Let's award Joe Geek for cutting out costs for network equipment this quarter.

    Let's fire Joe Geek the next quarter when we start having problems and 3 Com provides the level of support we got for the savings....zero.

    Ever try to explain to a CEO why his email is down and ho
  • We have known about 3Com and their partnership with Huawei [theregister.co.uk] aka "Cisco of China" for almost two years now.

    Huawei makes cheap knockoff copies of Cisco kit and bundles the IOS for free. They can afford to do this because they stole the documentation & the source code from Cisco and simply reproduce it for their own gear, software bugs, manual typos and all.

    Cisco sued Huawei [theregister.co.uk] back in January 2003, but they pulled the software piracy suit [theregister.co.uk] 10 months later after Huawei agreed to "modify some of their p

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