3Com readies low-cost gigabit switches

3Com is expanding its line of switches for small and medium-sized businesses with five Gigabit Ethernet devices.

3Com is expanding its line of switches for small and medium-sized businesses with five Gigabit Ethernet devices.

The switches range in price from $149 (£91) for a model with eight ports - only one of which is capable of Gigabit Ethernet performance - to $3,495 (£2,145)  for a system with 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports, said Robert Winch, director of product management at 3Com.

Two of the switches are desktop models and the other three are rack-mountable. All five are due this summer.

3Com is one of several leading suppliers in the market for unmanaged switches, which operate without relying on the Simple Network Management Protocol and functions that typically help IT administrators monitor network access and usage, said Joshua Johnson, an analyst at Synergy Research Group.

"Compared with many segments of networking, this is one area that's growing," Johnson said, adding that annual sales of unmanaged switches total about $500m. Other top suppliers include Dell Computer, D-Link Systems, Netgear and Linksys Group.

Sales of switches supporting Gigabit Ethernet data rates should also see growth "because the difference in price over standard Ethernet is minimal", said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at The Yankee Group.

Matt Hamblen writes for Computerworld

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