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Review: Tripp Lite PDU-Ethernet Combo Saves Space

For the space-constrained SMB wiring closet, Tripp Lite's 'first-of-its-kind' device gives VARs a third option to consider.

In small businesses or departments where space is at a premium, Ethernet ports, electrical outlets and rack space can run out faster than Keurig cups. That's the ideal scenario for the Tripp Lite PDU-Ethernet Switch 1U Combo, which combines as many as 12 AC outlets and 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports in a single 1U device for standard 19-inch racks.

For testing, Tripp Lite sent the Test Center a model NSU-G24C2 ($250, street), which delivers a dozen 12-amp NEMA 5-15R AC outlets on the rear panel with 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the front, plus two mini-GBIC SFP ports for linking multiple switches via fiber-optics. When one or both of these Gigabit ports is used, the Gigabit Ethernet port adjacent to it will be disabled. The lower-end NSUG-16 ($175, street), which lacks uplink ports, combines eight NEMA 5-15Rs with 16 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Both devices include a 12-amp plunger-style thermal circuit breaker and rack-mounting hardware, and both are unmanaged.

"This looks like a great fit for a small rack in an SMB environment, where both space and price matter but enterprise features may not," said Keith Josephson, CTO and founder of ION Computer Systems, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based VAR that designs and develops high-performance servers and storage appliances for small and midsize companies.

Josephson added that while 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports might serve the LAN requirements for some small companies, the unit's 12-amp limit might not. "That would be enough for one or two servers and some miscellaneous equipment that often ends up in a rack," which might include a backup appliance, firewall, router and other edge devices. "But it wouldn't power much more than that," he said. "Most of the rack-mount servers we see include typically around three to four amps."

There isn't much to test in an unmanaged switch beyond its wire speed, so we tested that. And, of course, the NSU-G24C2 delivered. In our first test, we timed the transfers of various sized files from a high-performance laptop to a high-end workstation. Remember, since there are eight bits in a byte, 1 Gigabit (1,024 bits) per second is roughly equivalent to 128 Mbytes per second. So a 1-GB file should transfer in about 8 seconds. In our test, a 1-GB file finished copying in 9.5 seconds, which seems about right when factoring in Windows network handshaking and related negotiations. A 3.8-GB file finished copying in 35.7 seconds, which calculates to about 9.4 seconds per GB, roughly the same rate as the prior test.

According to the company, all components of the PDU Ethernet Switch 1U Combo were designed and manufactured by Tripp Lite. It also claims the device is the first of its kind. For VARs targeting space-constricted applications in the SMB, the CRN Test Center recommends that VARs consider the Tripp Lite PDU-Ethernet combo devices.


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