New Netgear Switches Save Energy for SMBs

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Netgear has launched new switches for smaller companies, and power-reducing upgrades to its existing range, at the CeBIT show

Networking firm Netgear has launched new Ethernet switches aimed at small to medium-size businesses, and a series of “green” upgrades to its existing range, that will get customers on switches that can use less energy. Both announcements were made at the CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany.

Netgear claims its ProSafe FSM Series of Layer 2 Fast Ethernet switches are the first SMB switches to combine “high-performance, easy-to-use manageability” and a small 1U form factor with the ability to “stack” switches together for increased capacity. According to the company, this enables SMBs to increase the size of their network on a “pay as you grow” basis.

The three new switches – the FSM726E, FSM7226RS and FSM7250RS – each offer a different port density and mix of features to accommodate businesses with more than 200 concurrent users. The FSM7226RS and FSM7250RS, can be expanded by high-speed stacking, the company says, instead of the less-functional alternatives “virtual stacking” or “switch clustering.”

“With much smaller IT budgets than enterprises, SMBs have to make every IT pound count in planning their network, particularly in this economic environment. That can make it very difficult to lay the foundation for future growth,” said Netgear’s director of SMB switching products, Sanjay Kumar. “With this augmentation of the FSM series, Netgear has eliminated that concern for SMB switching infrastructure. We’ve incorporated enterprise-class features and ‘true’ hardware-based stacking technology that gives SMBs a great network now and enables them to grow their capacity when they need to.”

All three products are available worldwide from direct marketers, e-commerce sites and resellers at an estimated street price starting at around £213 for the FSM726E, at £285 for the FSM7226RS and £485 for the FSM7250RS. All products are backed by a full lifetime warranty, as well as optional ProSupport maintenance packages.

Switching to Green

Netgear says its new “green” switches can reduce power consumption by as much as 52 percent, using new hardware which increases power efficiency and allows more power management.

The switches offer features such as auto power-down, a mode that reduces chip power in each Ethernet port when the signal from the copper link partner is not present over cables. “SMBs are as interested as enterprises in limiting their impact on the environment—in some cases, more so,” said In-Stat research analyst Scott Scherer. “Lower network infrastructure costs, lower energy costs and simple common sense make this is a prudent infrastructure choice for most businesses. As a result, vendors introducing green switching lines have significant opportunity to take an early lead in filling a clear market need.”

The company has applied these green system enhancements to the ProSafe JGS5xx series of 16- and 24-port Gigabit Ethernet switches, the ProSafe GS1xx Series of five- and eight-port Gigabit Ethernet Desktop switches and the GS6xx Series of five- and eight-port Gigabit Ethernet switches. The upgraded products will be available in the second quarter of 2009.

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