HP Brings Cheaper Gigabit Ethernet to Networks Edge

As part of its refresh of its Adaptive Edge Architecture line, HP's ProCurve Networking unit hopes to drive down the cost of Gigabit Ethernet to $100 per port.

Hewlett-Packard Co.s ProCurve Networking unit today launched a refresh of its Adaptive Edge Architecture products spanning wireless access to the core of the network.

In delivering on its strategy to deliver greater performance, security, convergence and mobility to the edge of the network, HP launched new network management software, wireless access points, stackable switches, Gigabit Ethernet modules for its ProCurve 4100 and 5300 chassis switches, and a new 10 Gigabit Ethernet module for its ProCurve 9300 core switch.

HP will try to drive the cost of Gigabit Ethernet down to $100 per port, which officials believe will spur further adoption of Gigabit Ethernet to the edge of the network, where it has not been embraced.

Between its pricing moves and the fact that PC and laptop providers have begun to ship Gigabit Ethernet adapters in their offerings, HP officials said they believe the industry will adopt such pricing this fall.

With this latest product launch, HP ProCurve will move away from its mainstay TopTools network management software, which had shipped with HP switches. Replacing it will be the new HP ProCurve Manager, which "gives the medium enterprise or workgroup manager in a large enterprise all the basic management tools they need to understand whats happening and configure the network," said Mark Thompson, worldwide marketing manager for the ProCurve unit in Roseville, Calif.

While that will be bundled for free, HP will also market a ProCurve Manager Plus version for $1,999 that adds traffic management, group configuration, limited policy management and virtual LAN management, and provides a framework for subsequent management modules. Such modules will later include security management, voice quality management and application-level management functions.

On the wireless front, HP ProCurve lowered the price for wireless access points. The ProCurve 420 supports IEEE 802.11b and 802.11g access, while the ProCurve 520 adds 802.11a on top of those protocols. It is a less expensive means to providing greater wireless coverage in a large enterprise, Thompson said.

HP, which is gunning for 3Com Corp. as the No. 2 provider of switches globally, also added the ProCurve 2824 and ProCurve 2848 Gigabit stackable switches. The 24- and 48-port switches provide similar software to HPs ProCurve 2600 series of 100M-bps Ethernet switches, and are priced at $100 per port.

For its modular 4100 series wiring closet switches, HP added a new Gigabit Ethernet module that provides 22 ports and supports basic IP routing.

Finally, HP added a new 10 Gigabit Ethernet module for its ProCurve 9300 core switch. The module supports pluggable Xenpak optical transceivers for single-mode and multimode fiber as well as a long-distance single model.

The new offerings are available between now and early next year.