Alcatel last week introduced what officials claim is the first stackable 10/100M-bps Ethernet switch that is software-upgradable to Gigabit Ethernet.
The new OmniSwitch 6800L line allows users to upgrade to Gigabit Ethernet desktop connections without requiring additional hardware. A software key unlocks the Gigabit Ethernet port speeds.
Pricing for the stackables starts at $100 per port.
Alcatel officials said they believe most typical LAN switches installed today are basic Layer 2 switches with no advanced services such as security, multicast or quality- of-service functions. The need for advanced services is here today, and most PCs now have a Gigabit Ethernet interface.
"The idea behind the 6800L family is to split the decision into two pieces: advanced services at Fast Ethernet prices, and via a software upgrade, you can make 10/100 ports operate as 10/100/1,000," said a company official.