Network Computing

Fourth-Annual Well-Connected Awards: Infrastructure.(Cisco Systems Cisco 2916M-XL, Lucent P550 Cajun Switch) (Hardware Review)(Evaluation)

Ethernet Edge Switch (Fixed Configuration)

Cisco Systems Cisco 2916M-XL

Fast Ethernet switching is rapidly evolving from high-end backbone applications to desktop switching applications. The market has seen a dramatic drop in prices, while performance and feature sets continue to improve. One year ago, wire speed Fast Ethernet switches were practically unheard of; today, they dominate the market. Fixed configuration switches often skimp on features to make up for price gouging in the market. But the Cisco Systems' 2916M-XL breaks that mold by providing a complete feature set and room for expansion at a desktop switching price point.

The 2916M-XL has 16 fixed-configuration 10/100BASE-TX ports and room for two snap-in expansion modules. Setting the 2916M-XL apart from its competitors is Cisco's Fast EtherChannel technology. Fast EtherChannel enables a LAN administrator to aggregate multiple Fast Ethernet connections in a single logical pipe. Like the other switches that were nominated in this category, the 2916M-XL supports wire speed switching on every port. But when it comes to providing more bandwidth to the backbone, only the 2916-XL provides high-speed trunking for increased performance.

Cisco 2916M-XL, $3,995, Cisco Systems, (800)553-6387. www.cisco.com

Honorable Mention: SuperStack II Switch 3000 10/100 (12 port), $2,495, 3Com Corp., (800) NET-3COM, (408) 764-5000. www.3com.com/products/dsheets/400260.html

BayStack 350T, $3,595, Bay Networks, (800) 8-BAYNET, (408) 988-2400. …

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