A trend on the part of network switching vendors threatens to blow the lid off the networking industry's dirty little secret: While the majority of industry switch revenue is from Gigabit Ethernet, most switch ports shipped today are still 10/100 Ethernet.
Hewlett-Packard's ProCurve unit on Feb. 5 will become the latest network switch vendor to release brand new 10/100 Ethernet edge switches for customers upgrading their networks. ProCurve joins others such as Extreme Networks, 3Com and Nortel Networks, who have come out with new 10/100 Ethernet switches within the last 12 months.
With the costs coming down for Gigabit Ethernet, why not just make them 10/100/1000 switches?
"Network managers tend to be less concerned with bandwidth on the LAN than they are concerned with security, voice support, Power over Ethernet [PoE], wireless LAN support-all that," said Abner Germanow, an industry analyst with market researcher IDC. "To the extent they can get those functions enabled, that often takes precedence over a Gigabit connection that would be highly underutilized and suck more power." Germanow said that 60 percent of all switch ports shipped are still 10/100 ports.
Toward that end, ProCurve's new Switch 2610 Series stackables, which replace the Switch 2600 Series, add enhanced security, improve VOIP (voice over IP) support, improve traffic monitoring and deliver greater flexibility, according to Rich Horsley, the company's product marketing manager.