Switches offer more for less

Alcatel has entered Cisco country with the launch of a switch range to complete its coverage from the network core to its edge,...

Alcatel has entered Cisco country with the launch of a switch range to complete its coverage from the network core to its edge, writes Eric Doyle.

The Omniswitch 6600 series of workgroup switches target voice and data integration at the network edge to bring "30% more power at 30% less cost", said Mike Regan, Alcatel's business development manager for data. One of the ways in which savings are made, he said, is in the resilience of the stackable switches.

Regan explained, "We are offering 99.999% reliability through redundancy because each switch carries a duplicate copy of the configuration files and software images. Even if the master management module fails, any of the others can take its place. A copy of the previous configuration and image is also stored so the software can be rolled back if changes cause problems."

As part of the redundancy feature, Alcatel has incorporated a way to configure a stack of Omniswitches as a "virtual chassis", which means administrators can allocate a single IP address and treat each stacked unit as a chassis slot. If an element fails, others in the stack can automatically compensate because of the common address.

Security is provided through user name and password authentication, virtual Lan access control lists, encryption and denial of service protection. From the management angle, access to the switch uses authentication, authorisation and accounting, which adds a layer strictly controlling access rights and auditing users attempting to connect to the switch.

The switches offer wire speed routing and Layer 2, 3 and 4 quality of service priority queueing with four queues per port. There are two models: the 6624 has 24 ports and the 6648 has 48. Both offer 10/100 Ethernet connectivity but can be expanded to provide up to 16 ports.

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