Enterasys adds Layer 3 to new switch

Rochester, N.H.-based Enterasys Networks launched two new products under its Vertical Horizon brand of small- and medium-sized company products.

The VH-2402-L3 and the VH-8TX1MF are standalone workgroup Ethernet switches designed for small- and medium-sized businesses or branch offices of larger corporations. Both have been designed with different capabilities, however.

The VH-8TX1MF is an eight-port 10/100 switch offering a multimode fibre uplink. According to Kelly Kanellakis, director of technology at Enterasys in Toronto, the switch is ideal for multi-dwelling units, such as apartment buildings or condominiums. The switch features built-in onboard management and offers convergence for time-sensitive applications. For instance, the switch is capable of running voice and video streaming based on the 802.1p standard.

“It was actually developed in response to a number of customer requests, and these customers were basically deploying multi-dwelling units,” Kanellakis said. Customers wanted several dwellings in a building to share the bandwidth, and that’s what the VH-8TX1MF was designed to allow them to do, he said.

Enterasys’s other offering, the VH-2402-L3, is another low-end switch, but it contains a number of high-end switch features. Features included with the switch are Layer 3 Ethernet capability, 24 RJ45 ports of wire-speed 10/100Base-TX connectivity and one option slot for 1000Base-SX/LX or 1000Base-T uplink modules. The VH-2402-L3 is the first Vertical Horizon product to offer Layer 3 routing on all 24 ports and links. The switch also features built-in management per unit that can be configured and managed via Telnet, console or Web-based management tools.

“With this…we’re bringing out basically something that’s aimed at the lower end of the market but with higher-end market features,” Kanellakis said. “Actually, we’re keeping our costs fairly low on these (switches) and introducing them into a market space that’s very cost-sensitive.”

In addition to the Layer 3 capabilities, the VH-2402-L3 switch also has support for the 802.1x standard.

Kanellakis said he’s found there are a lot of smaller companies and branch offices that are cost-conscious and are looking for switches that have some functionality generally only found in high-end switches.

“Effectively, you can turn this into a Layer 3 switch router, which traditionally is reserved for the higher-end products,” he said.

Enterasys launched the Vertical Horizon line about two years ago with the intention of using the brand to target products specifically at small- and medium-sized enterprises.

“The higher end (switch), the VH-2402-L3, fits in very nicely with our strategy going forward – the security aspect, the availability aspect, and fitting right in with that user personalized networking capability,” Kanellakis said. “So it’s directly in line with our framework and actually delivering more performance (and) more features for the same price. (It’s) upping the bar in terms of features and functionality.”

According to Dan McLean, director of enterprise networking services research at International Data Corp. (IDC) Canada in Toronto, Enterasys has had a legacy of high-performance products since before the company spun off from Cabletron, but the company’s share in the market is modest.

“There are a lot of evangelists out there that swear by Enterasys, formerly Cabletron, equipment. That was always characteristic of Cabletron – a lot of customers really swore by the equipment and I think they really had a strong following of customers,” McLean said. He added, however, there has been some customer confusion since the name change to Enterasys. It appears Enterasys has been working hard to distance itself from the Cabletron brand and to establish its own brand name.

The VH-2402-L3 and the VH-8TX1MF switches are available now, and pricing was not available at press time. Enterasys is on the Web at www.enterasys.com.