Foundry Networks has launched a new range of switches aimed at small and midsized enterprises, branch offices and distributed enterprise workgroups. The company has also released a number of stackables and stacking upgrades for existing switches.

The FastIron Workgroup Switch (FWS), a line of 1RU fixed-configuration fast and gigabit Ethernet access devices aimed at distributed enterprises and SMEs. It features eight versions of 24- and 48-port switches, with either 10/100Mbit/s or 10/100/1000Mbit/s interfaces, including four gigabit uplink ports. Four of the models support Power over Ethernet (PoE) for VoIP and unified communications applications.

Embedded security features include DHCP snooping and dynamic ARP inspection to thwart denial-of-service attacks; user-based policy deployment via IEEE 802.1x; and Foundry's own IronShield 360 multilayer security architecture for monitoring, intrusion detection and prevention, sFlow-based behaviour analysis and network access control.
For energy efficiency, the FWS switches consume less than 35 watts per 24 ports, Foundry says.

The FWS switches are also upgradeable to Layer 3 functionality, Foundry says. They are priced from US$1,200 (£680) to $3,700 (£2,100) and will be available in the fourth quarter.

Foundry is also rolling out two stackable switches at the show, as well as a stacking option for existing switches. The FastIron GS-STK and LS-STK stackable switches come in 24- and 48-port models - the GS line supports PoE.

As many as eight of the switches can be stacked in an IP addressable unit, Foundry says. The switches support 40Gbit/s of stacking bandwidth per unit.

This provides a growth option that may be less expensive than chassis-based switches, the company says. In that vein, Foundry will also roll out an IronStack field upgrade for existing FGS and FLS switches that allows those units to be stacked together, or with the new STK devices.

"Stackables seem to be the hottest thing at the moment, now that people think the concept actually works and with such a wide range of applications - top of row/end of row datacentre, and general enterprise," says Mark Seery, vice president of switching and routing research at Ovum. "That seems to be the space were there is going to be revitalised competition."

The IronStack upgrade kits with stacking ports costs $1,645 and prices for the new STK switches start at $4,945. Both products will ship in the third quarter.