There are two trends in networking switches: Getting really big, and getting small.

In the later vein Brocade Communications System today began shipping its second campus compact switch, the ICX 6450-C, which includes interesting power alternatives.

It has 16 ports — 12 1Gigabit Ethernet for downlinks, plus four for uplinks. Of those four, two can be used for copper and two for fibre optic.

By comparison compact switches from major competitors have only 12 ports, said Mary Lenehan, senior manager of product marketing for Brocade’s [Nasdaq: BRCD] campus products.

The copper ports also make it ideal for long runs to rooms that weren’t designed for networks, she said.

The non-stackable unit is also fanless, she said, because it’s designed to be used outside the wiring closet to connect to other devices like wireless access points. That makes it appealing in schools, retail stores or offices, she said.

Like any switch, it can run on AC power, but four of the ports can also use Power over Ethernet (PoE).

“That’s kind of cool because we’re finding a lot of customers re-rigging old buildings and may not have the flexibility of (AC) power through the building,”  Lenehan said.

In addition, an upcoming software upgrade will give the unit pass-through power capability.

The switch itself consumes only 12 watts of power. If the customer uses PoE+, which can take 60 watts, there’s 48 watts of power that can be passed through to another PoE-enabled device.

If the switch is powered by AC, there’s a little bit more power that can be passed through.

It also includes Layer 3 routing, MACsec and GRE tunnel support for security and supports sFlow.

It is priced at US$1,595.

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