3Com switch pushes Layer 3 to edge

3Com Corp.’s latest switch family, the SuperStack 3 Switch 3200, is targeted at small- and medium-sized organizations looking to improve their network performance by pushing Layer 3 capability out to the network edge.

The 3200 routes traffic across local network segments shared by workgroups, instead of relying on core network switches to handle the routing.

This should make the switch appealing to organizations that might have different segments or personnel within workgroups attached to a single switch, said Doug Hyde, a product marketing manager with 3Com. Verticals that might find the 3200 especially useful include education, health care and government, Hyde explained.

“For example, in education you often have students and faculty separated for security purposes, but they might be in the same workgroup,” he said. By keeping traffic away from the network core, the 3200 family improves overall network performance, according to 3Com.

In addition to Layer 3 switching, the 3200 includes several security features. The switch supports 802.1x authentication, which requires users to log in as soon as they plug into the network. It also includes encryption for network management traffic and access control lists, allowing network managers to tie IP addresses to a particular port to block access to restricted network resources.

Alan Freedman, an analyst with IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto, said users are constantly looking for more intelligence in all of their network gear.

“Companies are looking to get more value from their networks in general,” he said. “It’s not necessarily about specific technology, but the fact that people see there’s a way to create cost efficiencies or competitive advantages by building more intelligence and value into their networking.”

There are two models in the Switch 3200 family. The SuperStack 3 Switch 3226 comes with 24 10/100Mbps ports and two dual personality copper/fibre Gigabit Ethernet ports. The switch has a list price of US$745.

The SuperStack 3 Switch 3250 has 48 10/100Mbps ports and two dual personality copper/fibre Gigabit Ethernet ports. The switch lists at US$1,375.

Both switches are slated to ship by mid-April.

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