3Com Corporation today introduced 3Com Baseline Plus, a new family of versatile, easy-to-use local area network (LAN) switches that take unmanaged networks - common among many small-to-medium (SMB) businesses - to the next level of enterprise-level, network intelligence. The new Baseline Plus Switches are designed to add "smart" switching, such as link aggregation, virtual LAN (VLAN) segmentation, traffic prioritization and traffic port monitoring to value-priced SMB solutions. As the first switch to be delivered in this new Baseline Plus family, the 3Com Baseline Switch 2816-SFP Plus adds Gigabit Ethernet performance to business networks that don't need sophisticated management capabilities, but can increase control and enhance the intelligence of the network at a comparable price to buying other unmanaged switches on the market today.

"The delivery of an unmanaged Gigabit switch with intelligence to configure a network under 500 users could cause a ripple effect in the industry because business customers can now get more enterprise-class features in a switched network, but still at relatively the same price as traditional unmanaged switches. This type of intelligent, unmanaged switch comes at a good time for businesses planning to upgrade from 10/100 networks to Gigabit," said Kneko Burney, senior analyst, Instat/MDR. "With the Baseline Plus line, 3Com is fulfilling its vision for highly simplified SMB networks that can add high-performance network intelligence to accommodate online user differences over time."

Small-to-Medium Business Networks Act Like Enterprise Networks Without Complexity
As small-to-medium-sized (SMB) business customer networks continue to evolve, the demand for more advanced capabilities to which larger network customers are accustomed, will become a requirement for SMB switches. 3Com is meeting the demand for most advanced capabilities by providing a new level of network intelligence, especially at the edge of the network interfacing with servers and end-user devices, primary desktop computers. 3Com has shaped the new Baseline Plus solution to solve SMB customer problems, such as the poor use of network bandwidth, network-dragging traffic bottlenecks, the possibility of undetected "suspect" data, and adverse effects on business-critical applications.

The Baseline Switch 2816-SFP Plus is based on the long-established reliability of 3Com's Baseline switches, a line of lower cost, unmanaged switches. The switch is 3Com's first "smart," Web configurable Gigabit switch, offering high levels of functionality and flexibility in an unmanaged switch form factor. To eliminate network traffic bottlenecks, the switch has the high-speed switching capacity of a wirespeed, Gigabit switch with sixteen 10/100/1000 ports and four SFP ports for fiber connectivity.

The options of supporting either copper or fiber cabling, in addition to link aggregation features and the possibility of mixing and matching switch port usage, give customers the flexibility to meet their requirements with easy-to-navigate online tools. Limited IT staffs can use link aggregation to create an ultra-high bandwidth network "pipe" to connect to the network backbone or another switch without needing specialized training in link aggregation because of the intuitive set-up and ease of use of 3Com's product.

To help customers increase efficiency in their network operations to boost application performance and save costs in the long term, the new 3Com smart switch allows VLAN segmentation, which is a common enterprise-class feature grouping users based on their data traffic exchange requirements. The traffic flow is directed to meet the needs of the business. For a long time, it was unheard of to have this type of functionality in an unmanaged Ethernet switch. For the SMB market, 3Com has been successful at making its features and functionality more portable on standards-based platforms.

Network efficiency is also increased via the traffic prioritization capabilities of the new 3Com Baseline Plus smart switch. With the ability to set priorities in the network for mission-critical traffic, the network is able to run more efficiently and, therefore, reduce the chance for network overload which is certainly a concern to small businesses. Adding intelligence, such as this smart switch capability, addresses this issue.

Also, the customer can use the smart switch for traffic port monitoring to support the business need for security measures to protect the business and its informational assets. Suspect traffic received in any port can be easily monitored from a user selected port. Furthermore, network ports receiving erroneous traffic can be easily and quickly disabled.

The intuitive Web Management Interface of the 3Com Baseline Switch 2816-SFP Plus offers a unique virtual switch graphic, which visually mirrors the actual unit. Managers can remotely perform at-a-glance checks on the status of the switch.

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