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Dell Reveals New Multi-Gigabit Campus Switches

April 24, 2017

Dell's hardware operations have really ramped up lately, which is excellent news given that the company's original stock in trade, the PC, has been on a general downward slump of late. With its new line of campus switches, it has a particularly powerful offering, bringing multi-gigabit capability to the wired or the wireless local area network (LAN).

It's not just about the multi-gigabit operations, though, it's also about the sheer versatility of these systems. Dell is particularly pointing out how its new N3132PX and N2128PX systems are better able to run with the produce of several key vendors on the networking market along with those multi-gigabit Ethernet ports that should make the use of said devices all the more worthwhile in the field.

Both systems, at last report, can be combined with most any recent 802.11ac access point, and in so doing, generate up to five Gbps of bandwidth on both CAT5e and CAT6 cables of the type generally  used in wireless LANs. Additionally, it can also run a variety of different network operating systems (NOSs), ranging from the standard one offered by Dell itself, or one from its partners.

Under normal circumstances, the most that could be derived from such cables would be one Gbps, though thanks to the new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard known as 802.3bz—which Dell supports in both the new campus switches and its line of W-Series 330 APs—the end result can reach as much as five Gbps, though might more readily hit 2.5 Gbps, which is still a substantial increase.

Dell, however, might be a little ahead of its time here; word is that enterprise users aren't exactly convinced that Dell's doing anything particularly useful here, as there's not much clear evidence that open campus switches that separate the hardware from the NOS, as Dell's do, have any clear advantages over current systems that closely integrate said systems. However, with Dell's use of open networking in the system, there might be a clearer value presented that way.

While it's true that most don't see a need for separating the NOS from the hardware, there are still plenty of users who will likely want to future-proof the system. As more start separating the two, who wants to be left behind in the crowd that isn't making that separation? Granted, future-proofing only goes so far, but when introduced alongside the open networking component as well as the multi-gigabit Ethernet capability, it could be just the sales package Dell needs to make some headway.

Either way, Dell has an excellent package going forward, and should be able to gain some ground in the multi-gigabit Ethernet market with an open networking package that delivers extra value in the future as well.

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