News Release

Cisco Introduces Family of Second-Generation Token Ring Switches

New Family of Token Ring Switches Includes Stackable Desktop and High-Speed Backbone Solutions with Robust Features and Functionality
Sep 10, 1997

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- September 10, 1997 -- Cisco Systems, Inc. todayintroduced a new family of second-generation Token Ring switches. Theseswitches are first in the industry to provide wire-speed throughput on allports, full support for Token Ring protocols and features, robust networkmanagement and high-speed uplinks at breakthrough prices. The family,including a stackable Token Ring switch and a Token Ring switching modulefor Cisco's award-winning Catalyst. switching family, establishes a newbenchmark for performance, function and low price per port.

The new switching family uses custom application-specific integratedcircuits (ASICs) to achieve high performance combined with functionspreviously found only in software-based switches. Token Ring ports achievemedia-speed throughput with all Token Ring bridging modes. Each Token Ringport supports dedicated or shared-media attachment, including support forfull duplex. Media-speed filtering and multicast support is built into thecustom ASICs. In addition, the switches support embedded mini-RemoteMonitoring (RMON) management to provide statistics on the health of attachedLANs.

High-speed uplink support includes ATM Forum-compliant Token Ring LANEmulation (LANE) and Cisco's 100-Mbps Inter-Switch Link (ISL) protocol. Acomplete Token Ring LANE solution can be provided via uplinks and LANEservices on the Catalyst 5000 family of switches. Cisco has extended itspopular ISL solution to support multiple Token Ring virtual LANS (VLANs) inaddition to multiple Ethernet VLANs. Full-length, source-routed, Token Ringframes can now be sent between switches and to servers at 100 Mbps,providing a frame-based, high-speed Token Ring solution. Token Ring networkmanagers now have the same choice of cell-based or frame-based uplinks thatEthernet network managers have had for some time.

With these new switches, Cisco offers a complete solution for the switchedLAN campus for each of the following network migration paths:

  • Scaling pure Token Ring environments
  • Migrating legacy Token Ring backbones to an Asynchronous Transfer Mode(ATM) backbone
  • Deploying an ISL frame-based backbone alternative to ATM
  • Migrating from Token Ring to Ethernet

"Cisco has succeeded in creating a family of switches that combines all thebest features and functionality of first-generation switches, but at asignificantly lower cost per port," says industry analyst Anura Guruge."Network managers have been waiting for a second generation of switches toimplement fully switched infrastructures. And now Cisco is the first todeliver."

Catalyst 3900 Token Ring Switch

The Catalyst 3900, ideally suited for desktop connectivity, has a standard20 fixed ports and a unique FlexSlot that can accommodate two feature cards.Up to eight switches can be stacked via the Catalyst Matrix switch toprovide up to 224 ports to address increasing bandwidth requirements in thewiring closet.

Catalyst 5000 Token Ring Module

The Catalyst 5000 switching module, designed for the enterprise backbone, isthe latest addition to the award-winning, media- independent Catalyst 5000series. With a choice of 16 copper or 16 fiber switch ports, this Token Ringswitching module has extremely high port density and functionality.

"These new Token Ring switches broaden Cisco's wide range of scalable,end-to-end campus solutions," says Eric Teagarden, Cisco's product linemanager for Token Ring switching. "With Cisco's Token Ring and Ethernetswitches and world-class routers, enterprises can choose the migration pathto a switched infrastructure that best meets their business needs."