Extreme Networks Engages Outer Edge Connectivity

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With its ReachNXT switch and EPICentre 7.0 management console, Extreme Networks provides a solution that allows users to make better hard-wired connections at the periphery of business networks where wireless just won’t do.

Networking hardware vendor Extreme Networks is enabling solution providers to offer wired connectivity to conference rooms, waiting areas and any other area with few wired ports but where wireless connectivity is just not enough.

The ReachNXT 100-8t is an eight-port enterprise “port extender” that plugs into a network and sits at the location where connectivity is needed, offering wired connection anywhere a network plug is available, said Harpreet Chadha, senior director of product management at Extreme Networks.

“This is a simpler way to connect devices outside the wiring closet,” Chadha said. “We kept getting feedback from customers that what’s getting ignored is that outer edge. When trying to connect a few ports, most customers typically look to wireless. But we found a lot of customers have places where they can’t have access points or they have auditors and consultants coming in who don’t want to use wireless. They’d rather have a port to plug into.”

ReachNXT solves that problem easily, he said, offering a complementary solution for both wired and wireless connectivity. The small design and quiet, fanless operation make it an ideal product for conference rooms, and can be powered either by Power over Ethernet or an AC adapter.

“Networks have an emphasis on how they are wired up to wiring closet, and after that there are no real considerations,” Chadha said. “So when users start using, they end up using something not recognisable to and managed by the network, such as a rogue access point, and that can present a host of problems.”

ReachNXT offers security that rogue access points don’t on many levels, he said. Physically, the unit includes a key that locks it down, preventing it from walking away. In addition, the unit must be recognised by the network before it will work. “When you plug the ReachNXT into another upstream Extreme Network product, firmware for the device is uploaded automatically and auto-discovery happens. So if it’s not part of that stream in the future, it will not work.”

Extreme Networks also released an updated version of its EPICentre network management software that includes management of ReachNXT, allowing network administrators to truly manage their networks end to end, Chadha said. The latest version, EPICentre 7.0, includes a new topology map that provides end-to-end network visualisation of network services such as VLAN, vMAN and the EAPS resiliency protocol to enable effective monitoring and troubleshooting, according to the company.

“It is unified management for all Extreme Networks products,” Chadha said. “With this software, everything plugged in has visibility.”

EPICentre 7.0 feature a new, more user-friendly interface, according to the company, as well as Tcl-based programming for automated network provisioning.

Perhaps most important, however, is the new licensing fee structure: EPICentre 7.0 offers an entry-level licensing tier and consistent feature set across all tiers. “We didn’t want pricing to rule out any size organisation when it came to licensing,” Chadha said.

ReachNXT and EPICentre 7.0 are available this month. MSRP for ReachNXT is £200, while EPICentre 7.0 begins at £2,000.