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HP to offer powered Ethernet switches

Hewlett-Packard will release powered versions of its Ethernet switches, with a price-per-powered-port of around £54 in the UK.

The move, along with a forthcoming announcement from NetGear, bears out predictions that power over Ethernet prices are set to tumble.

Although one obvious use is to power Wi-Fi access points, HP is marketing these primarily for voice over IP, where it works with partner Mitel.

“They will be used for wireless access points, but we haven’t made a big point of it,” said HP ProCurve business manager John Wetherall. “We haven’t delivered power on Ethernet before.”

The ProCurve 2626 PWR and 2650 PWR are the 24-port and 48-port powered versions of two of HP’s best-sellers, and will cost £1,422 and £2,681 respectively.

Each one has a 360W power supply, so the 2626 PWR can power all ports at 15.4W, while the 2650 can power all at an average of 7.5W. HP will also ship 1U-high power modules for its 5300 chassis switches in 2004.

The NetGear FSM7326P switch is selling in the US for less than the HP2626 PWR switch ($1,750 compared with $2,599) but HP’s device - like virtually all HP’s switches - has a lifetime warranty with next-day replacement.

The two products lend support to claims by power-over-Ethernet leader PowerDsine, that by the end of 2004 powered Ethernet ports will be as cheap as non-powered ports are now.

Peter Judge writes for Techworld.com

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