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1/10/2011
11:09 AM
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Cisco Unveils Compact Switches

Small and medium businesses often do not have the physical real estate needed to deploy enterprise class networking products. In response, Cisco shrunk the size of two of its popular switches, so they now fit in constrained environments.

Small and medium businesses often do not have the physical real estate needed to deploy enterprise class networking products. In response, Cisco shrunk the size of two of its popular switches, so they now fit in constrained environments.The company announced the Catalyst 3560-C and Catalyst 2960-C, which feature the same functionality, OS and management capabilities as their wiring-closet brethren, but are roughly half the size of an Xbox console. The devices work with eight to 12 Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet ports, and two Gigabit Ethernet uplinks and feature hardware acceleration for IPv6, support for IP multicast, and the ability to work with access control lists. In addiiton, the switches work with existing Cisco solutions, such as the CiscoTrustSec, security solution and EnergyWise, energy management system. Pricing for the C-series switches ranges from $745 to $1,995.

These products were designed for locations that pose wiring, space or power challenges. The devices eliminate the need for expensive individual cable drops for network endpoints and the complexities of running cables to locations far away from a wiring closet. With Cisco's pass-through Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability, the switches do not require direct access to power outlets.

Traditionally, Cisco has focused on the high end of the switching market. With such devices reaching a mature stage of development, the vendor has been moving down the product ladder. These new products may appeal to small and medium businesses that use other Cisco gear but have found deploying their switches a challenge. Cisco is bumping up against competitors, such as Adtran, Netgear, D-Link, and HP. Because Cisco has been the dominant supplier, these companies may be leery about its latest initiative.

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