Matrix E7 supports voice, video and data convergence

With an eye firmly focused on the future of enterprise network solutions, New Hampshire-based Enterasys Networks, a Cabletron Systems Inc. company, unveiled the Matrix series of next-generation, high-performance intelligent access products.

The Matrix E7, the first product of the series, delivers what Henry Fiallo, president of Enterasys Networks, considers breakthrough performance and pinpoint control for enterprise networks, that will enable businesses to take full advantage of e-business and Internet-based opportunities.

“The Matrix E7 provides CIOs and network managers with an opportunity to advance their e-business infrastructure, providing a platform for the delivery of converged voice, video and data, e-commerce and Web-based content distribution,” he said.

Dan McLean, a network analyst with IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto, sees the E7 as “being positioned as [Enterasys’] flagship product. You really get a sense of how it stacks up in terms of performance and against other competing products.”

Designed to support Enterasys Networks’ intelligent access platform (IAP) architecture, the E7 provides comprehensive QoS, security, traffic classification and reporting, enabling delivery of business-critical traffic to the appropriate points in the corporate network, according to Enterasys’ Canadian director of technology, Kelly Kanellakis.

The E7 is designed to provide high-performance connectivity to the corporate backbone, as well as providing connections to MANs (metropolitan area networks) and traditional high-speed WANs. Its modular platform provides more than 500 10/100 Ethernet ports and more than 80 gigabit Ethernet ports in a single chassis, with switching throughput exceeding 100 million packets per second. Its IAP supports voice over IP (VoIP), e-commerce, Web hosting, ERP applications and call centre management, Kanellakis said.

According to George Cavenas, manager of technical services at Florida-based Ivy Mackenzie Funds, a subsidiary of Mackenzie Financial in Toronto, the Matrix E7 switch provides better port density than their previous Cabletron gear.

“We’ve been using their (SmartSwitch) 6000 switches and this upgrade has two more slots, so you get better port density in roughly the same amount of space. The newer card is a 48-port switch, 10/100 card, and in our environment we’ve been trying to keep within one hub size. That gives us double the capacity for growth in the company,” Cavenas said.

“Another nice thing for us is that the firmware – the interface – is exactly the same as the older switches, so there’s really no learning curve. It is performing as advertised and we have not had any problems with it at all.”

The E7’s next-generation nTera backplane provides performance levels to accommodate 10Gbps Ethernet as well as dense wave division multiplexing, and is designed to support more than 420Gbps of throughput.

“Every card that goes in connects and switches to every other card that’s in there,” Kanellakis said. “When the 10Gbps standard is out, the Matrix E7 is ready.”

Enterasys is working with vendors such as SAP AG and Microsoft Corp. to increase the effectiveness of its IAP architecture, enabling the E7 and other IAP-capable switches to provide advanced traffic and business applications recognition, the company said.

The Matrix E7 will support existing modules from the SmartSwitch 6000 and, according to Viviani, the Matrix E7 is currently shipping in Canada with prices depending on customer configuration.