HP Readies ProCurve Switches

HP today unveiled a series of local area network switches based on the company’s Edge architecture and support power over Ethernet (PoE).

The switches feature a variety of management tools that can be extended over both wired and wireless systems.

The ProCurve series includes a built-in wire speed policy enforcement engine, a non-stop networking design that will keep the system operating despite error conditions or denial-of-service attacks and a programmable network processor.

The ProCurve 5400 and 3500 series switches are designed for heavy-duty enterprise networking applications and specifically tailored to pump out more intelligence and control to the edge of a network.

This is good news for administrators looking for such things as automatic deployment and management, as well departmental-level protection against viruses and unauthorized users, Darla Sommerville, vice president and Americas general manager of ProCurve, told internetnews.com.

The ProCurve 6200 switch offers 24 media-flexible ports and includes an expansion slot for an optional 4-port media-flexible 10-Gigabit module. HP also expanded its 8100 interconnect fabric product offering with a wire-speed media-flexible 10 Gigabit X2 module.

HP has been working on these technologies for about four years, improving such things as support for different types of wired and wireless communications traffic and their ability to work as part of a seamless network.

“As users are connecting, the system can immediately detect on the edge if they have access, and if not they won’t propagate that traffic to the core,” Sommerville explained. “There is intelligence around the security, as well as the ability to configure out to the edge.”

The HP ProCurve systems compete on the same level with Cisco Systems’ Catalyst 4900 series, which offers Layer 2 and Layer 3 edge networking capabilities, as well as the more powerful Catalyst 6500, which is enhanced for enterprise security and feature PoE capabilities.

In recent years, a number of wired and wireless switch manufacturers have jumped onto the edge bandwagon, taking a more decentralized approach to networking and network management.

“Control on the edge is important, especially when you have temporary employees and all sorts of people coming in and out of the network,” Andre Kindness, ProCurve product manager, told internetnews.com. “This allows the switch to automatically update itself without involving a network administrator and provides support for a higher level of applications.”

Edge technology is also useful for supporting pockets of increasing network traffic within an organization, especially as companies make more use of active radio frequency ID (RFID) tags and machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies that transmit over wired lines and 802.11 WiFi systems, he added.

The 5400 chassis family is available in both six- and 12-slot versions and includes bundles of 48 and 96 Gigabit PoE ports.

Additional modules provide media-flexible Gigabit and 10 Gigabit uplinks. The 3500 1U switch family comes in both 24- and 48-port configurations and with an optional 10 Gigabit uplink.

Prices range from $2,299 or $145 per port for the ProCurve Switch 5406zl model to $7,199 or $167 per port for the ProCurve 3500yl model. First shipments are expected to begin in April.

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