Allied Telesyn offers gigabit options

Allied Telesyn International Corp. next month will announce two fixed-configured switches targeted at helping businesses boost the number of gigabit ports in their networks.

The AT-9800 series could be used by businesses looking to install gigabit Ethernet and Layer 3 switching in the LAN backbone of a mid-sized network or in the aggregation point in a larger corporation.

The El Monte Union High School District near Los Angeles uses “hundreds” of Allied Telesyn’s smaller stackable Layer 3 switches, with plans to bring in several AT-9812T’s, says Garett McKay, technology director.

“We like that [the AT-9812T] has a combination of gigabit copper and fibre, which allows us to put it in areas where we have several different switches for different servers,” McKay says. The school uses dozens of Apple and Dell servers with fibre and copper gigabit connections, McKay adds. The quality-of-service features of the box will be useful when the school moves toward distance learning with video over IP, he adds.

The AT-9812T comes with 12 fixed 1000Base-T copper gigabit Ethernet ports and four gigabit interface card (GBIC) slots that could be used to add more copper or fibre gigabit Ethernet connections.

The AT-9816GB comes with 16 GBIC bays that could be populated with copper or fibre GBIC-based ports. Both switches are based on a 32Gbps backplane architecture and both boxes support Layer 2, Layer 3 and Layer 4 switching. Layer 2 to Layer 4 protocols for enforcing quality-of-service policies also are included, such as 802.1p traffic prioritization, 802.1Q virtual LAN tagging, Differentiated Services and Resource Reservation Protocol.

Allied Telesyn says the boxes also can handle full hardware-based routing, with support for Internet Group Management Protocol, Router Information Protocol Versions 1 and 2, Open Shortest Path First and Border Gateway Protocol Version 4. They also can route IP, IPX and Appletalk traffic, which could be valuable for supporting legacy IPX or Macintosh networks in markets such as banks and education.

Allied Telesyn is targeting competitors 3Com and Cisco with its new AT-9800 line. The company says its new switches can offer more ports and features at a lower cost than products such as Cisco’s Catalyst 3550-12G, a 12-port GBIC switch that costs around US$10,000 and requires a software upgrade for full Layer 3 switching and routing support. The AT-9812T also compares closely to 3Com’s SuperStack 3 Switch 4900, a 12-port 1000Base-T switch that costs around US$3,500 but has less GBIC slots than the Allied Telesyn box.

The AT-9812T will cost US$9,000, and the AT-9816GB will cost US$7,450. Both products will be available next month.