Avaya Targets Small Enterprises With New Switches

Avaya has unveiled new networking switches that deliver enterprise functionality, but at competitive prices

Avaya has begun rolling out a new family of compact Ethernet switches, which aim to make it easier for midsize businesses and remote offices to deploy and manage enterprise-class networks, without the high-end costs.

The company announced on 18 April the Avaya Ethernet Routing Switch (ERS) 3500 series, products that also are suited for such open environments as classrooms and hospital suites, according to officials.

Collaboration Features

The key enterprise-class features include plug-and-play capabilities for Internet Protocol (IP) phones, which can be up and running in less than a minute when connected to the ERS 3500. In addition, only a single command is needed to automatically provision the switch and enable all IP phones on an Avaya IP Office system, according to the company. That capability enables easy deployment of such collaboration features as messaging, video conferencing and presence.

The switch series also comes with software tools for managing and operating devices. The features include Web-based GUI and centralised management, as well as configuration tools for deployments in large branch offices.

“The Avaya ERS 3500 series is the perfect family of switches for small locations; it provides the features and capabilities that enterprises expect at a price suited for the small and midsize market,” Marc Randall, senior vice president and general manager for Avaya Networking, said in a statement. “We’ve designed the ERS 3500 to work seamlessly with Avaya IP Office, simplifying deployment with our flagship collaboration solution for SMEs [small and midsize enterprises] so that businesses can be more productive, faster.”

Avaya officials said the plug-and-play capabilities will make it easier for both businesses and Avaya’s channel partners to get the switch deployed and running with fewer errors. The ERS 3500 series includes six Fast and Gigabit Ethernet switches that come in 10- and 24-port configurations. Some models also offer enhanced Power over Ethernet (PoE+) capabilities for powering such devices as IP phones, wireless access points and video surveillance cameras.

There also are fanless switches for environments such as hospitals and classrooms that need quiet systems.

Upgrade Functionality

Avaya’s Stackable Chassis Architecture also makes it easier for businesses to grow their networking switch environments as their business demands change. The new switches will support the Stackable Chassis Architecture in a future software release, according to Avaya. Once that happens, businesses will be able to stack up to eight ERS 3500 units for better network availability, easier management and up to 80G bps of virtual backplane capacity.

Avaya is among a growing number of networking vendors looking to help small and midsize businesses (SMBs), which are being impacted by the same trends in mobile and cloud computing that are squeezing larger enterprises. These trends are increasing the need to better connectivity.

Cisco Systems on 12 April expanded its network portfolio with new switches and routers for SMBs. Cisco officials said these smaller businesses were seeing the same demands as larger enterprises. For example, cloud adoption among SMBs in 2011 was at 72 percent, and is forecast to grow to 98 percent in 2015, according to Cisco.

Over the next two years, SMBs will spend about $50 billion (£31bn) on cloud services. In addition, more of their employees are working from home or from the road more often, driving up the need for consistent connectivity.