Foundry packs Gigabit, 10G power into small switches

Two Gigabit-to-the-desktop LAN switches introduced

Foundry Networks this week launched two Gigabit-to-the-desktop LAN switches with optional 10G uplinks, targeted at enterprises with growing bandwidth needs and slim IT budgets.

Foundry says its FastIron LS series switches provide 10/100/1000Mpbs, or triple-speed, desktop connections for about $US105 to $US125 per port. The non-PoE, nonstackable switches could be useful in networks where basic, fast Ethernet links are required. Foundry says the new boxes cost 15 percent to 20 percent less than competitive baseline LAN gear. The small size of the devices is another selling point the vendor is stressing.

The FastIron LS 624 and 648 are 24- and 48-port switches with triple-speed links and optional 10Gbps uplink module slots. (The LS 624 has three 10G XFP module slots, while the LS 648 has two). Both switches include built-in Gigabit fiber or copper uplinks. The switches support static Layer 3 routing, as well as IPv6. Security features on the boxes include 802.1X support, which allows the switches to operate in a NAC framework, using different vendors' technologies. The switches also support sFlow, a standard for high-speed network traffic monitoring. The sFlow support also allows the boxes to work with Foundry's IronShield 360 IDS system, where back-end servers collect and feed sFlow data to IPS/IDS devices to detect traffic anomalies.

The switches' physical size is one rack unit tall, and around 13 inches deep -- around 4 inches smaller than standard switches. This could help fit the devices into tightly packed wiring closets, or nontraditional equipment spaces, the company says. The FastIron LS switches will compete with gear such as 3Com's Switch 4500, Cisco's Catalyst 3560-E switches, ProCurve by HP's 3400cl and other fixed-configuration boxes.

The FastIron LS 624 starts at $US3,000, and the LS 648 at $US4,500; 10G Ethernet upgrades start at $US1,000.

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