Foundry Networks is unveiling three new 10-Gigabit Ethernet compact modular switches in its SuperX family of hardware.

The company said that the new switches would provide the industry's highest Gigabit Ethernet and 10-Gigabit Ethernet density per rack, and up to eight systems can be configured for each 7-foot rack, said product manager Bill Ryan. In one configuration, a single rack could support as many as 128 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as 1,632 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1,536 Power-over-Ethernet ports.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at The Yankee Group , said the SuperX family "is a heck of a switch for the money," noting that it provides greater port density than Cisco's Catalyst 4500 family.

Foundry competes with Cisco Systems, Extreme and several other networking equipment vendors, and now has about 7,000 customers worldwide. Kerravala said Foundry has until now had a reputation for building high-performance switches, not lower-priced models.

The Super X family includes three switches for distinct applications:

  • The FastIron SuperX Layer 2 switch is for edge networks and wiring closets and is available now.
  • The TurboIron SuperX is a two- and three-backbone switch for the enterprise and metro layers. It's available now. Foundry officials said it has the lowest 10-Gigabit Ethernet price in the industry.
  • The BigIron SuperX is a 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation and core Layer 3 network switch. Available in March.