Extreme has a new set of LAN edge switches that, combined with software upgrades, will make VoIP and wireless LANs easier to set up.

The company is upgrading its ExtremeXOS switch operating system with support for LLDP-MED - a standard for identifying devices attached to a LAN switch, such as IP phones, WLAN access points or other devices. It is also launching new stackable and module switch gear with security and Power over Ethernet (PoE)l.

With LLDP-MED, detailed inventory data that can be transmitted including the brand and model number of a device, the PoE voltage requirements for the device or its physical location. Network management software that supports SNMP can be used to collect and organise the data.

LLDP-MED "is pretty important if you're deploying a large VOIP network," with equipment from different vendors, says Matthias Machowinski, an analyst with Infonetics. Instead of keeping track of devices through spreadsheets, or walking around an office writing down serial numbers, the discovery protocol automates the collection and tracking of device data quickly.

Other new features in ExtremeXOS include several tie-ins with Extreme's Sentriant network access control/security appliance, announced last year. Users can write scripts that automate some security scanning tasks between the Sentriant appliance and XOS-based LAN switches at the edge, Extreme said.

Extreme also is introducing new versions of its X450 stackable switch, and new modules for its older-generation BlackDiamond 8800 chassis. New stackable switches include the X450a and X450e series, which come in 24 and 48-port versions, with options for PoE. Both boxes can be fitted with optional two-port 10G Ethernet uplink modules.

The G48Ta and G48Te blades are both 48-port 10/100/1000 modules for the BlackDiamond 8800. The G48Xa includes interchangeable fiber/copper 1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports, while the G48Pe includes PoE.

The stackable switches and blades share the same hardware and software, Extreme says. The difference between the "a" series and "e" series is the aggregation and edge layers. The "a" series gear is aimed at aggregation-layer deployments, and supports large router tables - as much as 15,000 routes - and access control lists with as many as 2,000 rules. The "e" series edge products support half the routes and access control lists. Both the X450 and G48 products support IPv6 and IPv4 router in hardware.

The Summit X450e costs $5,000 and the SummitX450a, $6,500. The BlackDiamond 8800 G48 modules range from $7,000 to $16,000. The new version of ExtremeXOS is available for free to customers with updated support contracts.