Advanced switching grabs Interop New York spotlight

But network switching is where a lot of the action will be.

Switching will take center stage at this week's Interop New York conference, where vendors such as Foundry Networks, Enterasys Networks and Force 10 Networks will roll out new and enhanced products in defiance of a downcast IT spending environment.

A common theme among the announcements will be support for next-generation environments, such as those harnessing video, unified communications, IPv6 and embedded security that is identity based and policy driven. The Foundry and Enterasys offerings will tackle these requirements on behalf of smaller businesses and workgroups rather than core data centers, a recent market trend in switching.

"They're light versions of their flagship products," says Steve Schuchart, an enterprise network systems analyst at Current Analysis. "They're designed to move a little bit more down market without losing all of the functionality --- bring stackability, especially for things like VoIP -- without dragging all of the Layer 3 [features] along."

Despite the switching activity that will take place at the show, Interop New York will be minus at least a few key players, including Juniper Networks, which recently began shipping a line of enterprise LAN switches, and Extreme Networks. Cisco will have a presence at the event, with one of its vice presidents on the keynote address slate, but isn't planning any sort of product blowout.

As usual, Interop New York is much smaller than the annual spring Interop event in Las Vegas, though show organizers say numbers will be greater than a year ago.

More than 200 exhibitors are scheduled to show their wares, an increase of 16% over last year, and new participants include Dell, HP, Lenovo, Symantec, Palm and Logitech. Show organizers also expect close to 8,000 attendees, a 14% increase from last year. The event is co-located with complementary shows dedicated to mobile computing and Web 2.0 technologies.

In all, there will be more than 30 announcements at Interop, conference organizers say.

Some of the others include:

-- The FCC granting approval for Aruba Networks to use Software Defined Radio and Dynamic Frequency Selection technology in its 802.11n access points, which will enable access to otherwise prohibited 5.3GHz and 5.4zGHz military radar channels, and software downloads to access points over the network.

-- A release of Agito Networks' RoamAnywhere Mobility fixed/mobile convergence router for secure VoWLAN, dynamic least-cost routing, and broadened support for PBX and Symbian/Windows Mobile handsets.

-- GigaVUE-2404, a high-density network monitoring device for 10Gbps networks from Gigamon.

-- Ipanema Technologies' introduction of the Intelligent Acceleration system, which both accelerates and guarantees the performance of WAN business applications.

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