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Force10 Flirts With Midrange

Force10 Networks will unveil a scaled-down version of its switch-router technology next week as part of an ongoing push to lure smaller firms onto 10-Gbit/s technology.

The vendor will take the wraps off its C-Series 300 device, a cheaper, stripped-down, version of its existing E-Series chassis-based switches. "One of the challenges that we had at Force10 is that we're so high-end. We haven't been able to convince the mass market to buy into our technology," says Steve Garrison, Force10's vice president of marketing. "A lot of our customers asked for a small chassis at a lower price range."

The E-Series offers a maximum of 1,260 Ethernet ports and 224 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports per chassis, compared to 384 and 32 ports, respectively, on the C-300. Pricing for the E-Series starts at $100,000, compared to $20,000 for the C-300, which is available now.

The ports on C-300 are also line-rate, according to Force 10. This means that data packets will not be dropped, even when the 14U, 8-slot system is running at full speed.

Force is firing a shot across the bows of Cisco with the launch of the C-300, and is putting the device up against the networking giant's Catalyst 4500 family.

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