Dell boosts Layer 2

Dell Computer Corp. last month rolled out Layer 2 switches aimed at small to midsize customers with small IT staffs that need simple, plug-and-play and easy-to-maintain network gear.

Dell’s PowerConnect switches include the eight-port Gigabit Ethernet 2508, which can perform traffic aggregation for workstations and servers on a corporate LAN, and the PowerConnect 2124, a 24-port Fast Ethernet switch with one Gigabit Ethernet uplink. Both switches can be purchased with an optional redundant power supply. The company also has a 16-port Fast Ethernet PowerConnect 2016, which is an unmanaged switch.

Dell started selling its own family of switches last summer in an effort to better compete with Compaq and other server vendors that offer switching gear. The company claims that about 25 per cent of its customers were buying third-party switches. Dell also competes with Allied Telesyn International Corp., Netgear Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Nortel Networks Corp. and 3Com Corp. in the Layer 2 switch arena.

David Bobzien, regional technical manager at Collier’s International, a commercial real estate firm in Boston, said he decided to use Dell switches because they have industry-standard components and were easier to install. Collier’s, which also has Dell servers, PCs and workstations, plans to install the PowerConnect 3024 switches in 10 remote offices this year.

The Dell PowerConnect 2508 costs US$500. The Dell PowerConnect 2124 costs US$300.