Choosing the best campus switches for your network environment
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
The Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise campus LAN switch product line provides numerous choices -- from the access to the distribution and core -- for most enterprise organizations. This includes a series of industrial-grade switches that can operate in extreme environments.
The company's OmniVista 2500 software platform is a network management system that provides a single-pane-of-glass tool to manage, monitor and analyze data flows for wired and wireless LANs.
What the campus LAN switch models provide from the access layer
Alcatel-Lucent offers seven primary switch models tailored to the access layer. At the low-budget end of the gigabit access switch spectrum is the OmniSwitch 6350 series. This fixed-form switch provides 10, 24 or 48 ports of 10/100/1000 Gbps Ethernet connectivity, with or without a Power over Ethernet plus (PoE+) capability that can support up to 30 watts per port.
In terms of uplink connectivity, the compact switch offers 2x small form-factor pluggable (SFP) or RJ45 uplinks operating at 1 Gbps each. The standard 1U 19-inch rack models provide 4x SFP interfaces that can also operate up to 1 Gbps each. According to company documentation, the switches provide basic Layer 3 routing, which means they can route via static routes, but they don't run any type of dynamic routing protocol. The 6350s can be stacked up to groups of four switches and use the fixed SFP connection ports to provide the stacking backplane.
For a more feature-rich access-layer experience, Alcatel-Lucent offers the OmniSwitch 6860E series. These fixed-port Gigabit Ethernet switches are stackable up to groups of eight and offer high-availability hardware features, such as hot-swappable and redundant power supplies and fans. All models come with PoE up to 30 watts and some provide up to 60 watts.
From a software perspective, the switches are fully Layer-3-capable and include support for dynamic routing protocols, such as Routing Information Protocol, Open Shortest Path First and Border Gateway Protocol version 4. These switches are also able to use software-defined networking (SDN) for the rapid deployment of automated services using OpenFlow and OpenStack.
For harsh environments and severe temperature conditions, the Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6855 LAN Ethernet switch offers up to 24 Gb ports in a hardened chassis.
How the campus LAN switches address the distribution layer
The Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6900 series is designed for use as an entry-level distribution or small core switch. These campus LAN switches maintain the fixed, 1U form-factor found in most access-layer switches, but pack in a ton of routing and switching power. In terms of interfaces, there's the option to aggregate 1, 10 or 40 GbE to these switches with SFP+ or quad small form-factor pluggable plus (QSFP+) interfaces.
These switches can even be used for Fibre Channel for small data centers or large remote sites that have on-site SANs. They provide advanced switching capabilities that are a necessity in the core or distribution, including advanced routing, quality of service and first hop redundancy protocols. These switches are also SDN-capable. The high-end 6900 series switch has a maximum switching capacity of just over 2.5 Tbps.
If more performance and modularity are required, there's the OmniSwitch 9900 series of campus LAN switches. A single 9900, properly equipped, can push more than 5 Tbps of data with sub-microsecond latency. The physical dimensions of the switch are 11 rack units, with seven available slots for processing engines and interface modules. Alcatel-Lucent offers Ethernet modules ranging from 1 Gbps copper interfaces with PoE capabilities to 10 and 40 Gbps SFP+ and QSFP+ interfaces.
Pricing and support for Alcatel-Lucent campus LAN switch products
On low-end switch lines, Alcatel-Lucent offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers hardware malfunctions, software updates and bug fixes. Midlevel and upper-end switches have different warranties, depending on their capabilities.
If additional warranties or service-level agreements and access to software and technical support are needed, the company offers support contracts for advanced hardware replacement, 24/7 phone and online technical support, and access to the latest switch firmware.
For pricing information, contact an Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise partner. The partner works with Alcatel-Lucent to set the final price for hardware, software and support.
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