Brocade has announced a new campus networking strategy called The Effortless Network, in response to the speed of change at the edge network due to consumerisation and “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) enterprise trends.

The strategy is built around Brocade's new HyperEdge technology, whereby all of its new products will be interchangeable within a single stack. The company claims that this will enable customers to reduce operational costs and extend the lifecycle of their campus LAN investments.

HyperEdge technology features two main capabilities: single-point management, that enables users to manage their entire access switching layer as if it were a single device, and mix-and-match stacking, which allows users to mix and match premium and entry-level switches within a single stack. This means that entry-level switches inherit all of the features of the premium switches in the stack.

“What we felt was wrong in the market was that most networking companies – including ourselves until this point – had different product sets which were hard to interchange. So for each different product you had, you couldn't really stack them together,” said Brocade's UK country manager Marcus Jewell.

“You might start with a very simple edge network, and then somewhere down the line decide you want to use full virtual desktop integration, which requires much more multi-task control and latency. With our solution, instead of having to replace that edge network, you could just add intelligence to that stack with a single switch.”

Brocade claims its HyperEdge technology will have applicability across a number of enterprise environments, such as education and healthcare, which rely on campus LANs to perform many business operations.

In support of the new strategy, Brocade is introducing two ICX switches, which it claims are “HyperEdge technology-ready”. The ICX 6430 and 6450 have Layer 2 and Layer 3 functionality and the ability to support advanced features such as Energy-efficient Ethernet (EEE) and MACsec encryption for link-level data protection. They are available in 24- and 48-port 1GbE models, with optional 1/10GbE uplink/stacking ports.

Simplifying the campus network is not new. Juniper is counting on its Simply Connected portfolio to drive product sales in the campus and branch. And HP, Cisco and Extreme have their own visions of network simplicity for enterprise campuses.

The Brocade ICX 6430 and 6450 are available today directly through Brocade and its channel partners, with at a starting list price of $1,295. UK pricing has not been announced, but is expected to be between seven and 15 percent lower than an equivalent solution from HP.

Jewell said the company had achieved this competitive price point by allowing customers to only buy the features they need, adding that most switches are about 50-60 percent over-provisioned for what the client needs.

“The single biggest cause of downtime today, 37 percent in fact, is due to human error, in direct correlation with the increasingly large number of manual processes,” said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. “Brocade's HyperEdge technology will greatly simplify the management of campus LAN switches, significantly reducing errors and improving uptime.”

Earlier this year, Brocade warned that the arrival of 4G in the UK would bring a mobile revolution to rival the introduction of the first smartphones, but the benefits will not be fully realised unless legacy Internet Protocol networks are prepared for the forthcoming deluge of data.