Extreme Networks Port Extender Improves LAN Management

Extreme's new ReachNXT 100-8t is the first in a family of devices designed to improve wired Ethernet connectivity to the "outer edge" of the LAN, including conference rooms and visitor areas. The device, coupled with the latest iteration of the company's EPICenter management software, improves the user experience while giving IT administrators greater visibility and security of the network beyond the wiring closet.

Extreme Networks is looking to improve Ethernet connectivity to what company officials call "the LAN's outer edge"-places such as conference rooms and visitor areas.

Extreme on March 23 rolled out the first of its ReachNXT devices, the ReachNXT 100-8t, an enterprise port extender that includes eight ports of 10/100Base-T.

The new product-along with enhancements to the company's EPICenter 7.0 network management software-is designed to address increasing frustrations among employees and IT administrators alike about the difficulty in setting up conference room wired access that performs well and is secure, said Harpeet Chadha, senior director of product development at Extreme.

Extending the simplicity and management capabilities of the LAN beyond the wiring closet has been the key challenge, Chadha said.

Users irritated at the lack of access in such settings and the difficulty at times in setting up guests on the network often will bring in their own devices that they may buy from a retailer, he said. That leads to security issues for IT managers, who already are dealing with the inability to see everything on the outer edge of the network. There also is the security issue of bringing non-enterprise devices into such an environment.

The problems will only increase as more users bring their laptops into such meetings and expect greater connectivity, Chadha said.

The ReachNXT 100-8t is designed to create a secure and consistent connection while extending the visibility and control of the IT department into the LAN beyond the wiring closet.

The device is easy to deploy and offers Fast Ethernet connections to such devices as laptop or desktop computers. At the same time, it takes advantage of the vendor's ExtremeXOS operating system, and is visible to the IT administrator in EPICenter through an upstream ExtremeXOS switch.

It also can work as a fiber-to-copper media converter, which further extends the reach of the network, Chadha said.

In EPICenter 7.0, Extreme is offering a new topology map that enhances the visibility of network services, upgraded scripting and programming language functionality, and a more intuitive GUI that improves the efficiency in managing the network.