HP Switches Put Heat on Cisco

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2006-02-13 Print this article Print

Hewlett-Packard's procurve networking unit plans to roll out a host of new switches in an effort to give enterprises a viable alternative to cisco systems in the high-end switching market.

Hewlett-Packards procurve networking unit plans to roll out a host of new switches in an effort to give enterprises a viable alternative to Cisco Systems in the high-end switching market.

The four Ethernet Layer 3 switches, which build on ProCurves Adaptive Edge Architecture, incorporate a range of hardware-embedded functions, Gigabit Ethernet optimized performance and competitive pricing.

Two of the switches—the ProCurve 5400 chassis family and the ProCurve 3500 stackable line—are built on the same HP ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). The ProVision ASICs enable wire-speed performance at Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet speeds and at the same time enable power over Ethernet on every port—without exacting a high premium in price, according to HP officials.

Nielsen Media Research, which plans to evaluate the ProCurve 5400, uses both HP ProCurve and Cisco switches, said Joseph Reeser, senior network engineer at Nielsen, in Oldsmar, Fla. "Initially, we went with HP at the campus edge for the price," Reeser said. "However, the performance of their products, along with the lifetime warranty and their superior support, has us looking at their other next-generation products."

Both switches provide Layer 3 routing, virus throttling, access control list enforcement on a per-user basis, QOS (quality of service), and rate limiting on a per-user or per-device basis. They also provide hardware support for IPv6. A six-slot ProCurve 5400 chassis supports up to 144 Gigabit Ethernet ports; a 12-slot chassis supports up to 288 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

HP officials asserted that the ProCurve 5400 and 3500 deliver seven to 10 times the performance of comparable Cisco Catalyst 4500 and 3750 switches.

For customers targeting shorter-term deployments, HP added the ProCurve 4200 edge switch. Also new are the ProCurve 6200 aggregation switch, which provides 24 ports of Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and a 10 Gigabit Ethernet module for the ProCurve 8100 core switch that provides flexible media connectivity.

The new switches are due between March and the summer.


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