3Com's Network Jack brings four switch ports to the workstation

Nov. 16, 2001
November 16, 2001 Networking-hardware vendor says its new product can facilitate four network connections through one UTP cable.

The Network Jack, a new product from 3Com Corp. (www.3com.com), is being positioned by its manufacturer as a means by which networking managers can significantly reduce the number of cables run from telecommunications room (TR) to workstation. The NJ100 Network Jack includes four unmanaged 10/100-Mbit/sec Ethernet switch ports, providing users active ports that connect to a switch in the TR by a single cable.

The NJ100 fits into any standard wall cutout or modular-furniture opening. It is based on the power-over-Ethernet technology that will be specified in the forthcoming 802.3af standard of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (www.ieee.org). It also can be powered via Ethernet power sources or a local AC power supply, and it supports Voice-over-IP traffic.

"With the NJ100, organizations can substantially reduce the cost of cabling while increasing the number of active connections available to them," says Gary Wang, vice president of 3Com's personal systems business. Wang says that in retrofit applications, the NJ100 likely will be placed in conference rooms, shared office space, and offices that require multiple network connections.

"The PC is becoming something of a peripheral today," Wang said, pointing out that many users also have laptop computers and telephones that require or could benefit from network connectivity. "Future NJ products will incorporate wireless technology as well," Wang said, "such as Bluetooth or 802.11."

The product is particularly appropriate in some engineering environments, Wang says, in which bandwidth-hungry software applications frequently require engineers to have separate network connections for their development and corporate-business activities.

3Com does not expect a proliferation of this product to cause a corresponding decrease in sales of switches used in TRs. "Because it is an unmanaged 10/100 switch, network managers will still need the benefits of managed switching equipment located in the closets," Wang says. "The Network Jack does not replace any switch with manageability functions. It probably will be used like a personal gateway," he concludes.

The product is available now, through Graybar (www.graybar.com).

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