Madge rolls out Ethernet switches

Madge Networks Inc. today will introduce a new line of stackable Ethernet workgroup switches, dubbed Visage, that allow users to mix and match networking technologies in a single, logical unit.

Where other stackable switches are connected via bandwidths of 100 megabit/sec, creating interswitch bottlenecks, Visage switches are based on a 4 gigabit/sec scalable fabric that allow users to expand a workgroup without any performance bottlenecks, said Kevin Woods, director of product marketing at Madge's Enterprise Systems Division.

"Because Visage has a scalable switch fabric, it allows users to freely combine 10 or 100 megabit/sec or ATM in the same logical group," Woods said. Visage supports a combination of ports, including 10 Base-T, 100Base-TX and 155 megabit/sec ATM uplinks. It also supports RMON-compliant network management, which lets users monitor all ports simultaneously instead of on a per-port basis, and analyzes network traffic.

Up to four Visage switches can be stacked together.

The first switch to ship is the Visage 24T, which offers 24 ports of switched 10Base-T at less than $190 per port. It is available now on a limited basis and will ship in volume in August. Other switches in the family will start shipping toward the end of the year.

For federal buyers, Visage products will be added to the National Institutes of Health's Electronic Computer Store through Electronic Data Systems Corp. and will be sold off the General Services Administration schedule.

"Now we have a high-quality, high-performance product for the large Ethernet base," said Gordon Graves, director of government, education and medical sales at Madge. He added that he expects the government to be interested in the security features of the switch that prevent unauthorized access. "Also, there is complete and easy-to-use management. Most users are tired of having multiple management packages for products."

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