Cabletron uncorks 10/100 SmartSTACK switches

Cabletron uncorks 10/100 SmartSTACK switches

Cabletron Systems will shortly announce the availability of two desktop and workgroup switches that are the first in a series of products resulting from the company's acquisition of NetVantage.

At the end of this month, Cabletron will ship two 10/100Mbps SmartSTACK Fast Ethernet workgroup switches priced at $US125 per port. The products run at wire speed using customised Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology and feature standards-based policy management of virtual LANs and traffic priority.

The SmartSTACK ELS100-24TX is a stand-alone Fast Ethernet switch with 24 RJ45 ports. The box costs $US2995.

The SmartSTACK ELS100-24TXM is a stand-alone Fast Ethernet switch with 24 RJ45 ports and one modular uplink slot. It costs $US3395.

Cabletron will also roll out uplink modules for the two new switches. The EPIM100-2F2 is a two-port multimode fibre uplink module that costs $US1280.

The EPIM100-2F3 is a two-port single-mode fiber uplink module that costs $US5130. The EPIM100-2F4, priced at $US3200, is a two-port uplink module with one multimode fiber port and one single-mode port.

For policy-based virtual LAN configuration and priority, the SmartSTACK switches support the IEEE 802.1p and 802.1q standards. Each switch can support up to 4096 VLANs and features two priority queues, Cabletron said.

The switches also support 802.3x for flow control and threshold-based throttling for broadcast control.

Each switch has a 4.2Gbps backplane and can switch frames at wire speed on all ports in half- or full-duplex mode, Cabletron said. The switches forward 3.6 million packets per second, the company said.

The SmartSTACK switches support 12,288 media access control addresses and buffers that are 512KB deep per port.

In the 10/100 autosensing switch arena, Cabletron's SmartSTACK offerings will go up against Bay Networks' BayStack 350, Cisco Systems' Catalyst 2900 line and 3Com's SuperStack II 3300. The Bay and 3Com switches cost $US149 per port, while the Cisco box costs $US125 per port.

Despite the name, the SmartSTACK switches are not stackable. Cabletron is working on a stacking mechanism for the switches but has not determined a time-frame for unveiling stackable 10/100 devices, said Martin Lowry, SmartSTACK program manager at Cabletron. "It's not rocket science to implement [stackability]," he said.

Next month, Cabletron will unveil dual Gigabit Ethernet uplinks for the SmartSTACK switches that feature GBIC interchangeable media interfaces, Lowry said.

Cabletron will also boost SmartSTACK switch capacity to 6.5Gbps and ship the new switches and uplinks in September, he said. In 60 to 90 days, Cabletron will add the capability to logically group several Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet links into a high-speed trunk, Lowry said. And at the end of this year or early next year, Cabletron will unveil an eight-port Gigabit Ethernet SmartSTACK switch for collapsed backbone and workgroup aggregation applications at $US850 per port, he said.

Lastly, Cabletron will leverage the SmartSTACK Cyclone ASICs to extend the life of the switches it obtained from the acquisition of Digital Equipment's Network Product Business.

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