Netgear Switches Pave the Way for Voice over Wi-Fi

Netgear this week announced a new “smart” switch aimed at small and medium businesses that features Quality of Service (QoS) and port trunking.

The 24-Port Smart Switch with Gigabit Ports (model FS526T) is a layer 2 switch with 24 10/100 Mbps ports and two 10/100/1000 Mbps copper Gigabit Ethernet ports. Netgear said the switch is aimed at companies that can benefit from features such as QoS but can’t afford a fully-managed switch.

Netgear, of Santa Clara, Calif., has started adding QoS mechanisms to its switches (as well as some of its home networking equipment) in anticipation of applications such as voice over wireless LAN (VoWLAN). QoS prioritizes voice traffic over data on a wireless network.

The upcoming 802.11e standard will add QoS to Wi-Fi gear, but it’s not expected to be ratified until mid-2004 at the earliest.

In addition to QoS, the $400 Smart Switch offers port configuration, port trunking, traffic and virtual local area network (VLAN) support for up to 26 static VLAN groups.

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