Choosing the best campus switches for your network environment
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Editor's note: This product overview was written before Extreme Networks agreed to acquire networking product lines from Avaya and certain Brocade networking technologies and systems from Broadcom Ltd. The Brocade acquisition is expected to close later this spring; the Avaya deal is subject to court review under the terms of Avaya's bankruptcy filing.
While Extreme Networks may not command the same name recognition as other vendors, the company has a strong customer base -- particularly in the U.S. The company provides a simplified and unified wired and wireless infrastructure for companies of all sizes. And because Extreme Networks doesn't provide the same end-to-end portfolio as other larger vendors, the company counters this with its versatile NetSight multivendor management platform.
Extreme Networks' switches are available in three categories: fixed form-factor, stand-alone; fixed, but stackable; and modular switch chassis and switch blades. Many Extreme campus LAN switches use the ExtremeXOS operating system, which is modular in design, to run only the software features that are needed on the network.
What Extreme Networks' switches offer from the access layer
At the low-end of Extreme's access switch lineup is the 800 Series platform. These Layer 2 switches can also statically route at Layer 3. The company offers Gigabit Ethernet switches in fixed hardware with eight, 24 and 48 ports, with Power over Ethernet plus capabilities up to 30 watts per port.
For organizations that require more scalability, throughput and advanced capabilities at the access layer, the X440-G2 switch series is worth a look. This series runs ExtremeXOS firmware, which offers a portfolio of advanced enterprise features, such as Layer 3 switching and intelligent stacking, and advanced security features.
These switches can also be managed in Extreme's cloud-based network management software known as ExtremeCloud. The switches come in fixed 12-, 24- or 48-port Gigabit Ethernet switch appliances, with four small form-factor pluggable plus (SFP+) uplinks to the distribution layer. Up to eight switches can belong to a single stack, and two of four available SFP+ interfaces are used to create the stack ring, which uses a proprietary stacking protocol.
What Extreme Networks' switches offer at the core and distribution layer
Organizations in the market for a small core, distribution or collapsed core switch can opt for the Extreme Networks K-Series switch line of modular switches. There are two different chassis form factors to choose from: a six- or a 10-slot chassis. A high-end K-Series has the switching capacity to push packets and frames up to 440 Gbps. Module switch blades include gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces that you can mix and match in the chassis slots to meet your needs.
For even more performance in the distribution or core, you may want to look at Extreme's S-Series platform of modular switches. The switch chassis range in size from one to eight slots. Switch interface support ranges from 1 gigabit copper, SFP, SFP+ to 40 Gbps Ethernet using quad small form-factor pluggable plus interfaces. And in terms of backplane capacity, the high-end S8 switch can handle nearly 10 Tbps.
Pricing and support for Extreme campus LAN switches
Extreme Networks' switches must be purchased through a registered partner. The partner will ultimately determine the purchase price for the hardware, software and support contracts. Switch warranties range from 12 months to limited lifetime with advanced hardware replacement service levels.
If you require more than the standard warranty in terms of hardware service-level agreements, technical support or access to new software features, Extreme Networks offers a wide range of customizable support contracts.
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