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1/24/2008
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Taylor Boyko
Taylor Boyko
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Rollout: 3Com Baseline Switch

We found the Baseline 2900 supports VoIP and PoE, without breaking the bank.

THE UPSHOT
CLAIM:  3Com positions its Baseline Switch 2900 Plus Family as "smart" switches for small and midsize organizations. By delivering Gigabit Ethernet switching and special voice traffic controls, 3Com aims to simplify VoIP deployments.

CONTEXT:  The Baseline Switch 2900s are priced right and take advantage of high-end technologies. Competing boxes with similar feature sets generally cost much more.

CREDIBILITY:  The Baseline Switch packs advanced features into an easy-to-use, economical device. You'll need to do some tweaking to access advanced VoIP functionality, but that's a reasonable price to pay.
Looking to buy new switches? Take a gander at 3Com's Baseline Switch 2900 Plus Family. These offerings support Gigabit Ethernet speeds and Power over Ethernet and can help streamline your VoIP deployment. And at a street price of around $850 for the model we tested, cost-conscious IT groups don't have to sacrifice capabilities to stay within budget.

We tested the Baseline Switch 2924 PWR Plus model, which comes in a 1U rack-mountable form factor with 24 ports. Of particular interest is the auto-voice virtual LAN functionality. This feature is billed as able to detect VoIP devices and auto-assign the port to which the phones connect with a VoIP-only VLAN. This allows switch admins to not only keep data and voice traffic on separate broadcast domains, but also apply quality-of-service settings to VoIP traffic easily, at the VLAN level.

We were likewise happy with the PoE capability, which provides up to 180 watts of power across 24 ports. Setup was painless, and the Web interface, which happily supports the Safari browser, is clean, logically organized, and easy to use. When we ran into unfamiliar features, the complete, well-organized help files quickly cleared up our confusion. We're duly impressed with 3Com's affordable new switch line and excited to see emerging voice technologies built right in.

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