Extreme packs a big switch in a little box

Extreme Networks has achieved extreme density with its latest 48-port edge routing switch, a standard rack-mounted box just 1U (1.75 inches or 4.4 centimetres) high.

Into that space, the Summit48si crams 48 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports and two Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. It redesigned the board in the Summit48i switch and made the box slightly deeper, at about 18 inches, said John Erlandson, director of product marketing at Extreme. The switch can also be fitted with two power supplies for redundancy, he said. Those power supplies, which Extreme designed specifically for the Summit48si, can be hot-swapped to maximise switch uptime.

With shipments of the new switch, which started at the beginning of March, Extreme also released a new version of its ExtremeWare software, which will also be available on its higher end Alpine and Black Diamond switch platforms. It adds new features such as support for the IEEE 802.1x security protocol, which lets administrators require a user to log in before using a switch port.

The Summit48si can perform full Layer 3 routing, including multicast, and provide guaranteed QoS (quality of service) and security features, at wire speed, according to Erlandson. Like the less compact Summit48i, the new switch uses the vendor's Inferno processors for hardware acceleration of routing and most other functions.

The Summit48si became available worldwide at the beginning of March. A version equipped with AC power and basic routing, QoS and security features carries a list price of $US5795. A DC version, available probably in about three months, will cost $6095, according to Erlandson. A spare power supply costs $2295 for AC and will cost $2595 for DC.

A software upgrade to full routing capability, including the OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) routing protocol and multicast routing support, costs $2495.

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