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FORE Provides The Core of NOAA's
Research and Information Network

Multiservice Network Infrastructure Supports Leading-Edge Research at New Boulder Facility

Boulder, CO - December 1, 1998 - FORE Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FORE), a leading global supplier of multiservice networking solutions, announced today that it has been selected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide high-performance networking technology and products for NOAA's new Boulder, Colorado research and administrative center.

The Boulder center supported by the FORE network houses six of the 12 laboratories that comprise NOAA's Environmental Research Laboratories (ERLs), including the Aeronomy Laboratory , the Climate Diagnostics Center, the Environmental Technology Laboratory, the Forecast Systems Laboratory, the Space Environment Center, and the Surface Radiation Research Branch of the Air Resources Laboratory. ERL's mission is to conduct integrated research, technology development and other services to enhance our understanding of the Earth's oceans and inland waters, atmosphere, and outer space.

The Boulder campus also houses the National Geophysical Data Center, the National Weather Service Forecast Office, and the Mountain Administrative Support Center.

Employing a high-performance asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) network backbone enables NOAA to support a wide range of collaborative research activities at the Boulder center. A dozen ATM-connected Web servers at the new center also deliver more than 200 Gigabits of data per day to researchers and the public through the Internet, linking users to a wide range of real-time and historical data on weather, geophysical events and other information.

"By utilizing ATM's features, we can place our servers throughout the campus and connect them over firewall-protected vLANs (virtual local area networks), providing both reliability and security, as well as convenience to our systems staff," said Britt Bassett, network manager at NOAA Boulder Labs. "In the future, because we will have one of NOAA's best-connected networks, we'll also mirror other major NOAA Web pages to improve access during periods of high demand-for example, enabling more users to tap into Web pages from our hurricane and tornado centers during peak seasons."

According to Bassett, ATM's inherent performance advantages and features made it the logical choice for the new center's backbone.

"Modern research lives or dies by its network and communications capabilities," added Bassett. "In addition, many areas of our network require what we call essential uptime, where public safety and health depends on rapid, ready access to a steady stream of information. Only ATM provides the combination of high-bandwidth, flexibility, resiliency and scalability we need to meet our mission."

About the NOAA Network
NOAA's network consists of a dual OC-12 (622 Mbps) meshed backbone connecting to a total of 24 ForeRunner ASX-1000 backbone switches placed in intermediate distribution facilities (IDFs), or closets, throughout the Boulder campus. The ASX-1000s link to FORE ES-3810 LAN switches, providing desktop connectivity over either 10BaseT (10 Mbps) or 100BaseT (100 Mbps) switched Ethernet. Multiple ForeRunner ASN-9000 services nodes provide route serving for LAN emulation (LANE), MPOA required to support more than 100 IP subnets, and other network services.

In addition to all primary Web servers, approximately 12 network users connect directly to the backbone over OC-3 (155 Mbps) ATM-to-the-desktop for video, video conferencing and other services. In all, the network supports more than 2,200 connections-including 1,100 individuals in 698 offices and more than 98 laboratories.

"One of the key reasons for selecting FORE was its equipment's ability to support distributed network management. This important feature allows individual laboratory staffs to modify their parts of the network without affecting other portions," added Bassett.

FORE's Intelligent Infrastructure solution was selected following an extensive review of available technologies and vendors.

"To support the world-class research conducted by the NOAA-Boulder Laboratories, we needed a world-class network," Bassett said. "This means many things, including a large amount of bandwidth, along with the flexibility to assign and change that bandwidth to various campus locations to accommodate changing research teams and other requirements.

"The network also must be highly resilient to support our essential applications," Bassett said. "For example, our Space Environment Center must maintain a steady stream of information to the Johnson Space Center in Houston-information that may affect the health or safety of astronauts on a Shuttle mission. Utilities use SEC data on events such as solar disturbances to protect their power grids. The National Weather Service Forecast Office also requires continuous network access.

"ATM was clearly the best option for supporting our requirements," Bassett says. "FORE's extensive experience with ATM and federal government networks, its ATM technology leadership and its end-to-end solution made it the superior choice for this backbone."

"FORE has been a leading provider of high-performance networking solutions to the Federal government since the company was founded," says Dan Brigati, vice president of FORE Systems Federal. "Our multiservice networking solutions provide NOAA with the performance, reliability and flexibility it needs to perform the leading-edge research that advances our knowledge of the environment, and to communicate that information in ways that promote both better understanding and more informed decision-making."

About FORE Systems
FORE Systems is a leading global supplier of networking solutions based on an Intelligent InfrastructureTM designed to handle the networked applications of today and tomorrow.

FORE's Networks of SteelTM deliver the increased capacity, reduced complexity and unparalleled flexibility and scalability necessary to build networks that last. Thousands of enterprise and service provider customers worldwide have put FORE Systems' solutions at the heart of their networks.

For more information on FORE's Networks of Steel, in the United States and Canada, call (888) 404-0444 or contact your regional FORE Sales office.

This press release contains forward-looking statements with respect to products, partners, customers, future growth and other matters. Please refer to the Annual Report on Form 10-K filed by FORE Systems with the Securities and Exchange Commission in June, 1998, and the Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed by FORE Systems in August, 1998, and November, 1998, for a discussion of risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements.

 

FORE Systems Contact
Jim Blew
Public Relations
Phone: 724 742-7716
Fax: 724 742-7742
Email: jblew@fore.com

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