Nortel last week released software to support multiple 10G Ethernet interfaces on its core switch, as well as two load-balancing devices intended to increase availability of enterprise data centers and WAN links.\nSANTA CLARA -\u00a0Nortel\u00a0last week released software to support multiple\u00a010G Ethernet\u00a0interfaces on its core switch, as well as two load-balancing devices intended to increase availability of enterprise data centers and WAN links.Version 3.3 of Nortel's\u00a0Passport 8600\u00a0software could ease 10G Ethernet deployments by allowing the core switch to be deployed with either WAN or LAN 10G Ethernet modules. Before this upgrade, users could install software to support LAN or WAN 10 Gigabit connections on a Passport, but not both. Nortel also will release its Alteon Application Switch 2224 load-balancing switch and the Alteon Link Optimizer for shaping traffic in data centers and across WAN links.The new software for the Passport 8600 will let the chassis be deployed either with Nortel's WAN physical layer connection, its LAN PHY module, or both. The WAN module has a serial interface, a range of up to 25 miles, and runs on single-mode fiber. The module is also compatible with an OC-192 infrastructure.The LAN PHY module has a range of about 6 miles and runs over multi- and single-mode fiber. Previous Passport 8600s could support only one or the other of the two 10 Gigabit PHY modules.The Alteon Application Switch 2224 is a 24-port Layer 2-7 switch intended to sit in a corporate data center and load-balance devices such as servers, intrusion-detection-system boxes and firewalls. The product, which can handle up to 64,000 concurrent Layer 4 and 50,000 Layer 7 sessions per second, is a lower-end version of the Alteon Web Switch family, which supports more than 100,000 concurrent Layer 4-7 sessions.For load balancing at the enterprise edge, Nortel introduced Alteon Link Optimizer, a device that sits in front of a firewall and connects to routers that are hooked into multiple ISP or carrier links. The device is designed to redirect application traffic running over WAN links and determine the least congested path for application traffic across multihomed T-1, T-3 or ATM connections.With its Alteon product line, Nortel has excelled in the market for appliances that direct and accelerate traffic, according to Infonetics Research. The company is among the top-three Layer 4-7 switch vendors, and it led the market for Secure Sockets Layer hardware acceleration devices in the first half of 2002.The Passport 8600 3.3 software is a free upgrade for customers with existing support contracts. A Passport 8600 switch configured with a 10G Ethernet WAN connection starts at $96,000, and a LAN-configured 10 Gigabit chassis costs $76,000. The Alteon Application Switch 2224 costs $28,000, and the Link Optimizer costs $15,000 for Gigabit Ethernet and $10,000 for Fast Ethernet connections. The two new Alteon products will be available later this month.