Nortel spinoff pops gig Ethernet copper wares

Netgear Inc., the maker of small office/home office products that spun off from Nortel Networks Corp., has introduced a suite of gigabit-over-copper gear designed to enable users to inexpensively migrate to gigabit Ethernet.

Even though larger vendors-such as Cisco Systems Inc., Foundry Networks Inc. and Extreme Networks Inc.-are now shipping “gig copper” products, Netgear claims small businesses could not upgrade their networks to gigabit speeds without installing expensive fibre optics. Netgear’s four new products-targeted specifically at the SOHO market-support Category 5 copper, alleviating the need to pull fibre throughout a small business.

Nortel spun Netgear off earlier this year because SOHO networking was not core to Nortel’s business.

As many as 24 million homes in the U.S. will have computer networking by year-end, and the home network market will grow to US$1.4 billion by 2003, Netgear CEO Patrick Lo recently told Network World (US).

Netgear’s new products include the FS518T Fast Ethernet switch with gigabit uplinks; the FS510T Fast Ethernet/Gigabit Ethernet switch; the GS504T copper Gigabit switch; and the GA620T Gigabit adapter card.

The FS518T connects client PCs to servers or other workgroups. It has 16 10/100Mbps autosensing Ethernet ports for clients and two 100/1000Mbps autosensing ports for server and switch uplinks. The FS518T costs US$1,995 and is available now.

The FS510T is a lower density version of the FS518T. It features eight 10/100Mbps autosensing ports and two 100/1000Mbps uplinks. It also supports RJ 45 connections with Category 5 cable. The FS510T lists for US$1,170 and will be available later this summer.

The GS504T serves as an aggregator of up to four FS518Ts or FS510Ts. It features four 100/1000Mbps ports with RJ 45 connectors. The GS504T lists for US$2,200 and is available now.

The GA620T gigabit adapter card installs in servers for connection to a Gigabit Ethernet network. It is a 100/1000Mbps full-duplex autosensing Ethernet adapter for PCI bus-based systems, and supports drivers for Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems.

The GA620T has an RJ45 Category 5 cable connector. It lists for US$465 and is available now.