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Hewlett-Packard’s ProCurve business unit has unleashed a new “in-between”
switch series for small to midsize companies that puts a whole lot of emphasis
on green—environmental and monetary.

The 2910 series is designed to meet the needs of SMBs and midsize companies
that are outgrowing their current network but can’t afford to rip and replace.

“We like to call this the Swiss Army knife of switches,” says Renee
Meisenbach, HP ProCurve’s networking solutions manager. “It’s very versatile.
It can be used for a variety of deployments, from edge of network to branch and
regional offices to top of rack in a data network.”

The 2910 series features two 24-port and two 48-port fully managed Layer 2
10/100/1000 switches. The switches feature scaling capabilities via gigabit
ports that can be added as a company’s networking needs increase or for
bandwidth-intensive applications such as unified communications and VOIP (voice
over IP). The additional bandwidth is available via optional two-port 10GB
modules.

Two of the four switches feature Power over Ethernet (PoE) Plus, which
offers more power per port than regular PoE, Meisenbach says, giving users the
ability to power some of the edge devices that require more power, such as
full-color VOIP phones and security cameras. “Now they don’t have to find a power
supply to plug in high-power devices,” she says.

In addition, PoE Plus enables users to allocate the amount of power directed
to any port on the switch, allowing users to save on power costs and deploy
power more efficiently, Meisenbach says.

“We have heard several requests to make deployment of power at the network
more efficient, she says. “Because these switches are all about scalability,
users can deploy PoE Plus, have more power when they need it, and build on to
network and enhance it.”

And because the switches are expandable, users are keeping their networks
up-to-date at a lower overall cost, Meisenbach says.

“The investment protection is what customers have been asking for. They want
to feel comfortable that they’re future proof,” she says.

John Jabbusch, president and chief engineer at Carolina Advanced Digital, a
ProCurve solution provider in Siler City, N.C.,
notes that power over Ethernet has become a must-have technology for many of
its customers.

“PoE has been gaining traction in our markets for the past few years,” he says.
“With the increasing requirement for converged data and VOIP networks,
PoE-powered wireless APs and their controllers, PoE-powered security video
systems, and similar emerging technologies that will dictate PoE power
delivery, we have transitioned from PoE as an exceptional requirement to the
standard requirement in the span of a very short time.”

The switches also feature variable-speed fans that adjust to accommodate
cooling needs. The switches are certified as energy-efficient by Miercom, which
tested the devices and found them to offer a 23 percent cost savings over the
industry average—and thereby making them suitable for all green IT deployments,
Meisenbach says.

The switch series, which will be available April 1, have an MSRP ranging
from $2,609 for the 24G switch (non-PoE Plus) to $6,599 for the 48G PoE Plus
switch. The gigabit modules are priced at $779 and $2,099. Channel programs for
the 2910 series will be announced soon, according to ProCurve.