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Linksys Intros Inexpensive Line of Gigabit Switches

By Forrest Stroud

08.06.2003.  Linksys, a division of Cisco Systems, Inc. that focuses on the consumer and small office/home office (SOHO) markets, has taken the wraps off its new line of compact desktop and rackmount unmanaged Gigabit Ethernet switches. The EtherFast Gigabit Switch product line is designed to meet the needs of consumers and small businesses that are looking for a cost effective way to migrate from 10/100Mbps Ethernet to 1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet.

"Linksys can now provide our business customers the performance and reliability they demand for their network infrastructure," says Allen Powell, Linksys Director of Channel Sales. "Linksys has been providing unmanaged switches through our partners for over a decade. With the introduction of our unmanaged Gigabit switches, we continue too affordably provide the technology that today and tomorrow's networks require. Starting at about $35 a port, our new Gigabit switch family provides just what our resellers and business customers have been asking for: speed, affordability, and ease of use."

The EtherFast Gigabit Switch product line is currently composed of four products:

  • 5-Port Unmanaged Desktop SD2005 Gigabit Switch (Estimated Street Price - $199)
  • 8-Port Unmanaged Desktop SD2008 Gigabit Switch (ESP - $279)
  • 16-Port Unmanaged Rackmount SR2016 Gigabit Switch (ESP - $959)
  • 24-Port Unmanaged Rackmount SR2024 Gigabit Switch + 2 mini GBIC (ESP - $1,499)

In addition to providing data transfer rates at up to 1000 Mbps on each port, the desktop and rackmount gigabit switches also feature auto speed negotiation and auto MDI/MDI-X, which allow the switches to automatically sense and configure the cable type connected to each port.

The 10/100/1000-autosensing capability enables the switches to support high bandwidth applications such as video conferencing, graphics, and CAD systems. By moving Gigabit to the desktop, the level of performance also increases for remote and small offices – as well as homes – for a wider variety of applications and devices, including file transfers, databases, and gaming networks.

The EtherFast family of Gigabit switches offers the following features:

  • 5, 8, 16, or 24 10/100/1000Mbps, half/full duplex, switched ports
  • Forwarding and filtering of packets based on MAC Address
  • Auto speed negotiation and Auto MDI/MDI-X crossover connection on each port
  • Support for address learning and aging
  • 802.3x flow control and head-of-line blocking prevention, which keeps high-speed clients from bogging down in lower-speed traffic
  • High quality metal casing
  • Wall mounting option for 5 and 8 port desktop switches
  • Destop or Rack-mountable options for 16 and 24 port switches
  • Two mini gigabit interface connectors for fiber on 24 port switch
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Cisco acquired the formerly privately-held company earlier this year, but in a deviation from previous acquisitions, the firm chose to let Linksys stand as its own separate division. As a result, Linksys remains a leading manufacturer of home networking products with a line of wired and wireless products for consumers and small office/home office (SOHO) users.

The company's business model remains the same as well, hinging on its customers' desires for increased mobility and flexibility around the home or office. Linksys produces wireless home networking products that rely on wireless technologies such as IEEE 802.11a, b, or g to allow consumers to share files, printers, digital music, photos, and gaming over both wired and wireless LANs. The company also manufactures a variety of wired products, including Ethernet routers and cable modems, unmanaged switches and hubs, print servers, and network-attached storage (NAS).

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