Alcatel unveils two switches for enterprise LANs

Alcatel has added two switches designed to carry both voice and data traffic to its OmniSwitch product family.

Alcatel has added two switches designed to carry both voice and data traffic to its OmniSwitch product family.

OmniSwitches 8800 and 6600 feature what Alcatel calls "smart continuous switching", where failover occurs automatically and is done without dropping a packet.

Alcatel said this feature provided enterprises with the ability and assurance to run mission-critical applications such as voice and data on the same network concurrently without worry of service interruption.

"Enterprises are getting rid of their borders," said Eric Penisson, vice-president of product marketing for network infrastructure at Alcatel. "They are implementing an IP infrastructure that gives always-on availability."

Analysts agreed this was another good step toward improved availability, but technology for technology's sake is not at the top of large enterprises' wish lists.

Meta Group senior analyst Chris Kozup agreed the features looked good on paper. "But at a certain point technology is less a differentiator for enterprises. They are looking for service, support, company viability, and help with a complete solution offering."

Alcatel's OmniSwitch 8800 features a non-blocking 10Gb architecture and as many as 384 GigE ports. The switch also has a 512Gbps fabric and delivers 240Mbps of throughput.

Meanwhile, the OmniSwitch 6600 series features both the 6624 and 6648. The 6624 has 24 fixed ports and a 12.8Gbps switching capacity, while the 6648 has 48 fixed ports and 17.6Gbps switching capacity.

Both are rack-mountable and, like the 8800, the 6624 and 6648, have a new feature called "virtual chassis", which permits network administrators to configure a stack of OmniSwitch 6600s through a single IP address. This way each unit is seen as a slot in a chassis.

Alcatel has also introduced "automatic recovery software" with the switches, which detects configuration errors automatically and rolls back to the most recent configuration.

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