Dell Delving Deeper Into Networking

Bolstering its portfolio in a highly competitive sector, Dell today introduced two new networking switches in order to better compete with industry leaders Cisco and 3Com .

The products — the PowerConnect 6024 and 6024F — can be used by small and medium businesses for core network elements, or by larger companies to aggregate multiple switches or connect servers in a data center.

The 6024 and 6024F are layer-3 switches , which are more sophisticated than the Round Rock, Texas, company’s previous network equipment offerings.

“We’ve been in the market since September 2001 and it was clear from the beginning that we’d expand,” Ulrich Hansen, senior product manager for Dell’s networking arm, told

Dell doesn’t break down its network equipment sales volumes or revenues, but Hansen said the company, which is best known for its PCs, is pleased with its progress.

The new products offer customers 24 ports of Gigabit Ethernet in copper and fiber configurations respectively, including eight ports of combined copper/fiber connectivity.

The switches support a comprehensive routing protocol set, minimizing the need for additional software upgrades, and come with redundant hot-swappable internal power supplies and cooling fans.

In addition, the PowerConnect 6024 and 6024F include a cable tester that allows customers to remotely troubleshoot cabling issues and speed deployment of the switches. The swtiches are available to U.S. customers for $3,499.

“We’ll continue to evaluate additions to our networking products, looking at different form factors . . . evaluating different categories,” Hansen said. “But we’re growing one step at a time. (Today’s announcement) is an important step.”

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