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Low-cost Enterasys routers take on Cisco

Enterasys' new XSR 3000 routers are taking on Cisco with VPN, firewall and routing features. An analyst says the routers are designed with remote offices in mind.

Last week, Enterasys Networks Inc. announced the availability of a new line of low-cost security routers. The XSR 3000 Security Routers integrate virtual private networks, firewalls, quality of services and routing abilities in a single device at a cost below that of competitor Cisco Systems Inc.

Lawrence Orans, a principal analyst with the Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc., said that this low-cost device competes directly with Cisco's 2600 and 3700 routers. The Enterasys devices start at $5,995, he said, making them more than competitive with Cisco's products.

Ben McLeod, director of product marketing for the Andover, Mass., network system provider, said the XSR 3000 Security Routers are designed to help regional or branch offices with security and routing.

A number of vendors have turned their attention to the branch office market, Orans said. Increasingly, employees at remote offices need access to more and more networked information.

"Remote offices need connectivity; they need e-mail, sales force and CRM applications," Orans said.

Enterasys plans to target verticals, such as retail, where companies are increasingly adding connectivity to their stores for credit card verification, inventory applications and other functions, McLeod said. Health care is another market that he expects will show interest.

Bundling security features with the device's other capabilities will make it more appealing to businesses that are concerned with finding ways to secure their networks, Orans said.

It was security that drew Franciscan University of Steubenville to the product. Dennis Breen, director of telecommunication networks for the Steubenville, Ohio-based university, said that his previous firewall provider went out of business, so he began shopping around for a new product.

The university had already purchased much of its infrastructure from Enterasys. Breen said that the XSR 3250 fit his needs so well that he did not shop any further. The total cost -- under $10,000 -- was less than the maintenance cost on his previous firewall, he said.

The university plans to use the firewall as the main gatekeeper between it and the Internet. Breen said that the intrusion-detection features were particularly attractive, as was the Java-based user interface that simplifies configuration and management.


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