Extreme Networks has announced new 802.11n wireless access points and switches, and measures to help users cut the electrical power demands of their switches.

The wireless access points and wireless switches are re-branded versions of Siemens' 802.11n devices, and can therefore deliver full 802.11n performance, driven by standard power-over-Ethernet, says Paul Hooper, chief marketing officer at Extreme. Extreme has been selling this product family since before Siemens bought the original maker, Chantry Networks.

Other new products include the Summit X350, which "rounds out" its edge switch family with a 24/48 port switch for Gigabit to the desktop. There are also new blades for the BlackDiamond 8800 switch with higher Gigabit and 10 Gigabit density.

The new blades can be field-upgraded with Power over Ethernet modules, with no other changes to the chassis. This makes sense in the lifecycle of a switch, explained Hooper, as they tend to start out in the core of a network and get redeployed out to the edge, where PoE devices such as wireless APs and IP phones are more likely to reside.

Overall, the 8800 uses around a third the power of a comparable switch from Cisco, and half the electrical power of a switch from Foundry, according to a report on tests carried out by Tolly Group.

The latest version of ExtremeXOS, 12.1, includes the ability to automate network operations end-to-end: "It's the only modular OS for LANs that goes from the edge to the core," he said. Manageability could reduce the power demands still further, for instance by turning off ports in a call centre when it clearly is not in use.

The company hopes to promote tips like this, with Widget Central, a web-based community site, where network managers can can share tips for getting more out of their Extreme kit, and third parties can release tools to integrate the switches with other devices and software. "We've got a Posix OS that gives access into every capability of the switch," said Hooper - but so far those functions have only been used by academics, not businesses.