Dell unveils smarter switches

Dell continued its march into enterprise networking with three products that add advanced features for scalability, management...

Dell continued its march into enterprise networking with three products that add advanced features for scalability, management and multimedia support.

The company used this week's Networld+Interop trade show in Las Vegas to unveil a 12-port Gigabit Ethernet switch and 24-port and 48-port 10/100Mbps Ethernet switches. Dell already offers products in these configurations but it has added features to the latest switches to meet enterprise customers' demands.

Dell branched out into networking from its core business of PCs and servers in 2001. It  will introudce a Layer 3 routing switch by the end of this year, but so far it has not introduced a modular chassis platform of the kind most companies offer for the core of enterprise networks.

Dell Networking vice president and general manager Kim Goodman said the company is just extending its PC and server strategy in the new field. It sells what customers are asking for in large numbers and takes advantage of industry standards and components available in high volume.

The PowerConnect 5212 Gigabit Ethernet switch brings advanced features from the PowerConnect 5224 to a switch that is better suited to small and medium-sized enterprises because it has fewer ports, said Ulrich Hansen, senior product manager.

Those features include more comprehensive quality of service capabilities for applications such as VoIP, user authentication for remote switch management, a command-line management interface for experienced administrators and a redundant external power supply.

The 5212 will replace the 5012 model that was introduced in 2001, Hansen said. It is shipping now in the US at the same price as the earlier model, $1,199, and also shipping in Europe.

The 3348 and 3324 take those features, which also are supported in the PowerConnect 3248 10/100M bps switch, and add two more capabilities. Users can stack the switches using Gigabit Ethernet links and manage them - up to 192 ports - as a single switch. They can also set up access control lists to limit certain kinds of traffic.

Like the 5212, the 3348 will match the price of its less advanced predecessor, $999. The 3324 will cost $549. They are expected to ship in July in the US and Asia, and in Europe during the autumn.

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