New switches, WAPs and software from Extreme Networks

Extreme Networks this week will unveil switches, wireless access points and software enhancements designed to let customers better manage network expenses.

Bundled together under the “Perfect Balance” umbrella, the products and enhancements are intended to enable enterprises to achieve consistency and predictability in purchase and installation costs, operational overhead, and support for convergence, mobility and security. They include offerings for edge, aggregation, core and wireless applications.

“If you look at how companies budget for networking, there’s very little thought that usually goes into the operational cost,” says Nick Lippis of Lippis Consulting. “Twenty to 25 per cent of [total cost of ownership] is capital and then 75 to 80 per cent is operational cost. So there’s a large tip to the iceberg — you spend a little bit of money upfront but it takes a lot more underneath to support it.”

New switches include the Summit X350 for the network edge and new interface and controller modules for Extreme’s BlackDiamond core switch.

The Summit X350 fixed configuration gigabit switches are available in 24- and 48-port models. They are intended to provide gigabit connectivity to the desktop at about US$75 per port.

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As with existing Summit switches, the X350 runs the ExtremeXOS operating system, which the company says provides operational uniformity across the Summit line.

The new modules for the BlackDiamond 8800 switches are referred to as the “c” series blades. They are backward compatible with older versions of the 8800 line, yet increase gigabit and 10 gigabit density.

The “c” modules also feature field-upgradability to Power over Ethernet support.

The BlackDiamond 8800 line is also now supported by Extreme’s CLEAR-Flow security rules engine. This gives the 8800 switches integrated intrusion detection with rules-based security that is modifiable for future requirements, Extreme says.

These enhancements extend the service life of the switch, Extreme says, and lower operational expenses with integrated security capabilities.

For wireless applications, Extreme rolled out new Altitude 802.11n access points and controllers designed to help lower installation costs and improve the economics of outdoor and small site installations.

The Altitude access points, OEMed from Siemens, can be installed using standard power over Ethernet delivered on a single cable, Extreme says. They can also operate outdoors at an extended -40 to +70C temperature range.

For smaller sites, Extreme’s Summit WM20 wireless LAN controller inexpensively supports voice over wireless, the company says. The equipment also supports bandwidth and traffic management, and enhanced security.

On the software side, a new release of ExtremeXOS features expanded automation capabilities to facilitate easier network operations. With ExtremeXOS 12.1, any event appearing in the switch’s log file can be used to trigger an automated process, Extreme says.

Lastly, Extreme says it plans to launch Widget Central, a Web resource for company and community-sponsored network extensions. The company is also offering a software developer’s kit for partners to integrate their software with Extreme switches for better performance, security and scale across the network.

These initiatives are intended to provide enterprises with tools to cost effectively acquire, operate and enhance their networks, Extreme says.

“We’re seeing a lot of companies making that [widget] offer — like Cisco around IOS, [Juniper] with JUNOS, Foundry‘s going to be having that kind of announcement,” Lippis says. “They’re taking the approach from the PBX manufacturers and opening up those hundreds of features and allow developers to have access to them, either through Web services or .Net and stuff like that.”

The Summit X350 Series Gigabit switches cost about $1,800 for the 24-port model, and $3,000 for 48-port model.

The BlackDiamond “c” series modules with interface modules start at about $6,000.

The Summit WM20 WLAN controller starts at about $5,900. Altitude Access Points for 802.11n connectivity costs $1,300. Outdoor access points will be available in July at $2,500.

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