Alcatel reckons it's time that 10Gig Ethernet reached the wiring closet, and has extended its Omniswitch 9000 series with a low-end five-slot chassis able to support up to 24 10Gig ports, 96 1Gig ports, or a combination thereof.
Like other 9000 series switches, the new 9600 offers features such as wire-rate IPv4/IPv6 processing, 802.1x and policy-based quality of service.
It can also work with Alcatel's security appliances to do network access control, authenticating devices that want to connect to the network and using VLANs to quarantine them.
All the 9000 series switches use the same cards, but unlike its eight and 16-slot siblings which can have two for high availability, the 9600 supports only one management card. The other four slots are available for line cards - six ports on a 10Gig card, 24 on a 1Gig card.
Alcatel said it would add a Power-over-Ethernet Gigabit card later this year, to help with mobility and voice/video/data convergence by providing line power for devices such as wireless access points, webcams and IP phones.
The OmniSwitch 9600 will compete with the likes of Cisco's Catalyst 4000 series, the HP ProCurve 5300 series and 3Com's Switch 4000 family.
A 9600 chassis with power supply and management module lists for £6400, while line cards retail from around £2500 for 24 1Gig ports. ®