Foundry delivers Power over Ethernet offerings

As it looks to build on its impressive growth over the last four years, Foundry Networks is expanding its portfolio of switches with a host of additions to its FastIron family.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  March 27, 2003

FastIron developments|~||~||~|As it looks to build on its impressive growth over the last four years, Foundry Networks is expanding its portfolio of switches with a host of additions to its FastIron family. The products capitalise on emerging technologies, such as IPv6 and Power over Ethernet (POE), and are designed primarily for the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) sector.

According to Foundry, the Layer 2/3 FastIron Edge 2402 and 4802 switches are the first family of products to deliver Power over Ethernet. The models, which are part of Foundry’s bandwidth & reliability for applications, voice and video (BRAVVO) architecture, incorporate the upcoming IEEE 802.3af POE standard.

As such, enterprises will be able to reduce their cabling requirements and utilise their Category 5 cabling infrastructure to deliver both Ethernet and standard power to voice and data applications. More significantly, the switches also enable wireless and VoIP devices to be powered.

“The benefit for the customer is that they already have an installed asset in their Cat 5 cabling and they want to be able to leverage that and use it not just for voice and data, but also for wireless access,” says Adam Stein, director of corporate marketing, Foundry Networks.

“These products [the 2402 and 4802 switches] actually put power current and Ethernet on the same cable out to VoIP phones, wireless access points and security cameras,” he adds.

Foundry claims that these switches deliver multiple benefits to users, including centralised power management and cost savings. Additionally, the FastIron models offer power efficiency by incorporating an auto detection feature, which determines the power or Ethernet requirements of a device. As such, if a device is being serviced by Ethernet and it doesn’t require power it will not be given power.

“Rather than having separate power supplies and Ethernet connections, users can autosense and have power and Ethernet on the same cable. Devices such as wireless access points, which couldn’t previously get power, can now get power and Ethernet over the same piece of Cat 5 cable,” says Stein.

“[Furthermore] customers can centralise their power distribution in the wiring closet where the network switch is located. And because they don’t have to build in uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices near wireless access points or VoIP phones, they can save on capital and operational costs,” he adds.

Consolidation and efficiency is also a factor in Foundry’s FastIron Edge 12GCF switch, which combines both Gigabit over copper and Gigabit over fibre in one network switch. Users are given the flexibility to configure the fibre or copper ports to suit their particular needs, and again, enterprises can benefit from cost and management savings, claims the network vendor.

“The benefit of this product for businesses is that they can connect copper and fibre.
Rather than having dual switches and having to manage both switches users can actually leverage one switch in any configuration, so they could have six copper ports and six fibre or 10 copper and two fibre. The switch can mix and match the copper and the fibre providing the user with simplified operations,” comments Stein.

The 12GCF switch is also designed to capitalise on the increasing trend among chip and server makers for delivering LAN on the motherboard (LOM), which sees the likes of Intel adding network capabilities to its chipset.

“Customers that will use this switch are SMEs that want to capitalise on the fact that every server they are going to buy moving forward will have LAN on the motherboard. Every server that is coming out with the Intel chipset has network capabilities, usually Gigabit over copper, built into the motherboard. Network administrators want to be able to leverage that, and we can help them to do that whether they have fibre or copper or both,” says Stein.||**||

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