3Com Corporation has introduced the 3Com IntelliJack Switch NJ225, the latest in its line of "in-the-wall" four-port Ethernet switches.  Building on 3Com's recent pervasive network security strategy initiatives, 3Com has added advanced security to these compact devices that convert a single port wall outlet into four switched Ethernet ports without the need to run new cable to the edge of the network. 

The new NJ225 model is a managed switch with standards-based security and intelligent management for better network access control, ideal for converged networks running Internet Protocol (IP) telephony.  It features port-based network access control based on the IEEE 802.1X network login standard, helping ensure that only authorized users can gain access to network resources.  

Additionally, it can automatically assign users to particular Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) based on their log-in profile to further enhanced the network security.  In academic environments as an example, this capability - known as Auto-VLAN - is often used to keep students and visitors separate from administration and faculty resources on the network. 

"When your offices are in a listed historical building, it makes it very difficult and expensive to lay new cable to accommodate new users," said Peter Lumb, ICT officer for the Royal College of Radiologists in the UK. "The 3Com IntelliJack units solve this problem. They also add real value to our networked telephony service because they enable us to control the level of power we provide to the phones over the LAN. Our voice communications is a business-critical application - the 3Com IntelliJacks help provide the security and reliability we need, and the fact that they increase our user connectivity without the need for more cable is a real bonus," he continued.

"The 3Com IntelliJack Switch NJ225 enables organisations to extend 802.1X functionality from the core of their network to additional connections at the edge," said Tom Gerstenberger, 3Com vice president of personal systems business.  "The 802.1X network login feature, combined with Auto VLAN functionality, provides the authentication and authorisation necessary to maintain a secure network."

The NJ225 model has four 10/100 switched Ethernet ports available for user connections and one 10/100 uplink. To accommodate locations with fibre cabling used for desktop connections, 3Com has also introduced two IntelliJack models with a fibre 100BASE-FX uplink connection.  These IntelliJack Switch NJ225 FX models accommodate ST- and SC-class fibre connectors for their uplink but have 10/100 Ethernet ports for user connectivity. 

"The 3Com IntelliJack family is the only Ethernet switch which fits discretely in the wall and instantly quadruples the number of network edge connections while providing the advanced security and management functionality required for today's converged networks.  Users can prepare their infrastructure for new applications like IP telephony and video conferencing without incurring the cost of pulling new cables," Gerstenberger added.

Other features common among the 3Com IntelliJack family models include standards-based power forwarding to a compatible downstream device such as a phone or video surveillance camera, and traffic prioritisation. With the 3Com IntelliJack Switch NJ225's centralised management, information technology (IT) managers now have the capability to bring additional connectivity to distributed users without compromising on security or manageability.

Key Features and Benefits

The 3Com IntelliJack Switch NJ225 and NJ225 FX models gives IT managers' enhanced ability to control access to the network, including greater access from remote locations and user-configured VLAN IDs for management packets.  Its key features include:

* Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-compliant management for centralised port-level control and device monitoring;

* Advanced security including 802.1X port-based network access, Auto VLAN functionality, MAC Address filtering, 802.1Q VLANS, 802.1p traffic prioritisation, and system alerts;

* Advanced switching features that enhance control to the individual connection.  For example, a port-based rate limiting which allows control of speed and type of data traffic or an intuitive calendaring feature that allows prescheduled off-hour control and repurposing of individual or groups of 3Com IntelliJacks;

* Location mapping management application to better locate devices on the network;

* A pass-through port can be added to provide an additional non-switched connection for phones or additional local area networks (LAN) port (only available in NJ225);

* Power over Ethernet (PoE) (IEEE 802.3af compliant or Cisco proprietary pre-standard) can be used to power the NJ225 model to help lower deployment costs and the risk of power interruptions;

* Power forwarding on Port #4 to forward PoE to another device, ideal for IP telephony deployments; and

* Local power supply supports a local area network (LAN) without PoE capabilities.

Pricing and Availability

The 3Com IntelliJack Switch NJ225 is now shipping with a list price of US $239.  The fibre versions of the solution - the 3Com IntelliJack NJ225 FX for SC- and ST-type connections - is available only in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden with a list price of US $379.  Power is ordered separately to more flexibly accommodate PoE or local power connections. 

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