Networking hardware vendor Extreme Networks is enabling solution providers to
offer wired connectivity to conference rooms, waiting areas and any other area
with few wired ports but where wireless connectivity is just not enough.

The ReachNXT 100-8t is an eight-port enterprise “port extender” that plugs
into a network and sits at the location where connectivity is needed, offering
wired connection anywhere a network plug is available, said Harpreet Chadha,
senior director of product management at Extreme Networks.

“This is a simpler way to connect devices outside the wiring closet,” Chadha
said. “We kept getting feedback from customers that what’s getting ignored is
that outer edge. When trying to connect a few ports, most customers typically
look to wireless. But we found a lot of customers have places where they can’t
have access points or they have auditors and consultants coming in who don’t
want to use wireless. They’d rather have a port to plug into.”

ReachNXT solves that problem easily, he said, offering a complementary
solution for both wired and wireless connectivity. The small design and quiet,
fanless operation make it an ideal product for conference rooms, and can be
powered either by Power over Ethernet or an AC adapter.

“Networks have an emphasis on how they are wired up to wiring closet, and
after that there are no real considerations,” Chadha said. “So when users start
using, they end up using something not recognizable to and managed by the
network, such as a rogue access point, and that can present a host of
problems.”

ReachNXT offers security that rogue access points don’t on many levels, he
said. Physically, the unit includes a key that locks it down, preventing it
from walking away. In addition, the unit must be recognized by the network
before it will work. “When you plug the ReachNXT into another upstream Extreme
Network product, firmware for the device is uploaded automatically and auto-discovery
happens. So if it’s not part of that stream in the future, it will not work.”

Extreme Networks also released an updated version of its EPICenter network
management software that includes management of ReachNXT, allowing network
administrators to truly manage their networks end to end, Chadha said. The
latest version, EPICenter 7.0, includes a new topology map that provides
end-to-end network visualization of network services such as VLAN, vMAN and the
EAPS resiliency protocol to enable effective monitoring and troubleshooting,
according to the company.

“It is unified management for all Extreme Networks products,” Chadha said.
“With this software, everything plugged in has visibility.”

EPICenter 7.0 feature a new, more user-friendly interface, according to the
company, as well as Tcl-based programming for automated network provisioning.

Perhaps most important, however, is the new licensing fee structure: EPICenter
7.0 offers an entry-level licensing tier and consistent feature set across all
tiers. “We didn’t want pricing to rule out any size organization when it came
to licensing,” Chadha said.

ReachNXT and EPICenter 7.0 are available this month. MSRP for ReachNXT is
$295, while EPICenter 7.0 begins at $2,995.