Open source networking player Vyatta this week refreshed its mid-range routing and security appliances with three new models aimed at small to mid-sized enterprises and branch offices.

The Vyatta 2600, 1600 and 600 series network appliances are based on multi-core x86 Intel processors running Vyatta's Network OS software. Vyatta claims the new appliances offer more than three times the performance of Cisco's Integrated Services Router Generation 2 (ISR G2). For example, by Vyatta's calculations, the 2600 moves 600,000 more packets per second than the ISR 3925.

Vyatta's been at the "beating Cisco on price/performance" game for some time. Its message usually resonates in smaller enterprises where a Cisco installation might bust the IT budget.

The company's strategy hinges on a software-based alternative to proprietary networking products where software and hardware are tightly coupled. It treats Layer 3 switching and routing as a platform independent application so it can be inexpensively offered as software, virtual machines and x86 based appliances for physical network edge, virtual data centre and cloud computing environments.

Such a strategy has helped Vyatta gain significant traction in cloud and virtualisation environments over the past year. Once only 10% of Vyatta's business, cloud and virtualisation now account for 40% of the company's sales, says Tom McCafferty, Vyatta vice president of marketing.

This week's rollout of new mid-range appliances for small and midsize enterprises is intended to keep that momentum going. It is the first refresh of Vyatta's mid-range appliance line in two years, McCafferty says. The new models include the Vyatta 2600, 1600 and 600.

The 2600 is designed to provide high performance routing and security and flexible port density to mid-sized enterprise and hosted environments. It includes eight Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, DSL and T-1/E-1 WAN connectivity, two PCIe expansion slots for additional WAN/LAN interfaces, 1.4Mpps Layer 3 forwarding performance, 4,000 VPN tunnels and 500Mbps VPN forwarding.

The 1600 is designed for small to medium enterprises and branch offices. It sports six Gigabit Ethernet and one Fast Ethernet port, DSL and T-1/E-1 WAN, one PCIe expansion slot, 600Kpps Layer 3 forwarding, 400Mbps VPN forwarding and 2,000 VPN tunnels.

The 600 is targeted at small offices and branch offices without a dedicated server or telecom room. It features six Gigabit Ethernet ports, 250Kpps Layer 3 forwarding, 150Mbps VPN forwarding and 1,000 VPN tunnels.

The 2600 costs $3,397, while the 1600 costs $2,347 and the 600 is priced at $997. All appliances are available now.