Adtran is to launch its first Layer 3 gigabit device. The NetVanta 1544 comes in three flavorus: copper, PoE and fibre. They are targeted at workgroup aggregation for the edge network of small/medium businesses, educational institutions and the like. 

They complement Adtran's NetVanta Layer 2 workgroup switches and now allow Adtran to offer a more complete switching lineup, company officials say. Previously, users of Adtran's Layer 2 switches had to acquire a Layer 3 aggregator from another vendor.

An interesting twist to the Adtran 1544 is its support of a 2.5Gbit/s uplink - actually, four 2.5Gbit/s uplinks per switch. Typically, these uplinks are 10G Ethernet ports or multiple 1G Ethernets.

These 2.5G links can be bonded together to form a 10G uplink. Or more likely, they can be used as a clustering port to interconnect multiple 1544 devices up to 100 metres for scale.

"They're offering an in-between speed so you don't have to eat up ports by bonding," says Matthias Machowinski, an analyst at Infonetics Research. "But customers are looking for standards," such as 1G or 10G Ethernet ports. "But if the price is right, it won't matter much. What matters is that it works at an attractive price point."

The 1544 line is priced from $100(£66) to $143(£94) per port. Each switch features 28 ports - 24 Gigabit Ethernets and the four 2.5G uplinks. They also support QoS, IEEE 802.1Q for VLANs, 802.1x port authentication for VLAN assignments, NAC, RIP, OSPF, BGP, RADIUS/TACACS, LLDP/LLDP-MED for attached device discovery and configuration, and a WiFi access controller.

One version, simply called the 1544, supports 10/100/1000BASE-T copper ports. The 1544P adds 370 watts of IEEE 802.3af PoE to the switch. The 1544F sports 24 Gigabit Ethernet SFP ports.

The NetVanta 1544 and 1544P and available now; the 1544F will be available in July.