Network vendor Zyxel is to release a new Gigabit switch, which it says will help SMBs support their converged voice and data network.

Although Zyxel has traditionally focused on smaller businesses, it recently took a surprise step into enterprise network territory with a chassis switch targeted at the big boys.

Now however, with the 24 port managed layer 3 Gigabit GS2724 switch, Zyxel has once again aimed at its traditional SMB customer base, and specifically those companies looking to implement VoIP and other converged technologies such as video on-demand. The switch design incorporates a 48Gbit/s wirespeed switching fabric, and comes in a 1U rack-mountable form factor.

The GS2724 also includes QoS (quality of service) measures and virtual LAN capability to ensure services can run uninterrupted. Security is enhanced across business networks, with MAC freeze, static MAC forwarding, MAC filtering functionality, as well as multi-layer access control lists, which provide L2/L3/L4 indicators for network traffic policies and QoS.

The GS2724 supports Zyxel’s iStacking clustered administration technology which enables them to search and connect to other iStacking-capable Zyxel switches. This approach allows administrators to manage up to 24 switches with one IP address.

“As convergence and triple play becomes commonplace, businesses need to ensure that their network infrastructure can handle both the increased bandwidth and the different traffic characteristics,” said Jon Pearce, switching product manager.

“The GS2724 is fully loaded with powerful QoS and VLAN functions to ensure that the network operates smoothly and is future proofed against developing requirements such as VoIP, IPTV and video streaming over the network.”

The GS2724 features 24 standard 100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports. “It is the first in a series of products for us in this space - the GS2724 does not have PoE support - its configuration is effectively 20 Gigabit Ethernet and 4 Dual personality (either 4 Gigabit Ethernet or 4 Open SFP slot),” Pearce told Techworld. “Over the next two quarters we will release the 48 Port Gigabit version and PoE variants.”

“The VoIP integration and QoS capabilities come from our work with the Zyxel managed switches for Internet Service providers in the aggregation layer,” he explained. “Specifically we can segment the traffic as to whether it is voice, data or video and through a combination of VLANs and ACL we can prioritise the application. The Switch can achieve this either at layer 2 VLAN implementation like a service provider edge network or with the help of the Layer 3 routing.”

Pearce feels that the GS2724 switch is an integral part in the migration of solutions for Zyxel from the Service Provider networks and low end SMB solutions that the company has been known for.

“I see the product working well with our chassis core switch and 10G switch products as an intelligent edge product providing Gigabit to the desktop,” said Pearce. “This will enable us to grow our market potential in the UK by becoming known for providing an end to end solution for our customers.”

The GS2724 switch has a recommended retail price of £295, and a reseller price around the £220 mark, which Pearce claims “positions it perfectly in line with our target competition from HP and 3Com.”

This translates to a price-per-port figure of roughly £12.29.