Alcatel To Unveil Gigabit Ethernet-To-The-Desktop Switch

The new OmniStack 6300, a Layer 2 fixed-configuration switch with Layer 3/4 services, targets three types of deployments: in the data center to connect servers or server clusters, as an aggregation switch to collect traffic from multiple workgroup switches, or as a way to provide Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop, said Brian Witt, director of product marketing at Alcatel, Calabasas, Calif.

A growing number of "power users" currently require Gigabit-to-the-desktop capabilities, while other more traditional users can affordably buy the technology now so they don't have to upgrade later, Witt said. "It's probably more capacity than people know they need in the short term, but it helps future-proof the network for higher capacity," he said.

The OmniStack 6300, which starts at $2,495, is slated to be available next week. The 1U switch has 28 ports, including 24 10/100/1000 ports and four MiniGbic (Gigabit interface converter) small form-factor pluggable ports for enabling fiber uplinks. Only 24 of the ports can be used at the same time.

The OmniStack 6300's security capabilities include access-control lists to help filter out denial-of-service attacks; port-based authentication to ask users for a password before granting network access; support for VLANs to isolate traffic, provide privacy and prevent snooping; and Media Access Control (MAC) address lockdown to limit network access to preauthorized devices and protect against rogue wireless LAN access.

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To provide high availability, the switch includes Quality-of-Service features to ensure optimum application performance, network resiliency through support for fast spanning-tree and multiple spanning-tree deployments for load balancing and failover, and a backup power supply.

Of particular interest to solution providers, the switch uses a command-line interface similar to the one used by Cisco Systems, so partners familiar with Cisco's products should intuitively understand the Alcatel switch, Witt said.

"It has a great price, it leverages what partners already know from other vendors with an industry-standard interface, and it offers a good feature set for both availability and security," Witt said.