Cabletron adds smarts to switches

Cabletron adds smarts to switches

Cabletron Systems next month will ship a version of its switch software that lets users build large network domains and suppress certain types of traffic.

The software, called Smart Network Services 1.8, is a new version of Cabletron's SecureFast Virtual Network Services software. Cabletron changed the name of the software to better identify it with the company's SmartSwitch devices.

Smart Network Services 1.8, which comes with Cabletron's VLAN Manager application, has a number of enhancements over SecureFast 1.7, including support for SecureFast domains consisting of more switches. Domains refer to groups of switches under a common administrative authority.

The software also includes a feature called Virtual Link State Protocol (VLSP), which is an Open Shortest Path First-like topology protocol for Layer 2-switched networks that allows users to build domains with more than 128 switches.

Domains were limited to 120 to 130 switches under SecureFast 1.7, and it took switches in such large domains a long time to set up new routes to get around failed links.

Administrators can also use the new software to define link access policies for suppressing more types of protocol traffic from gaining VLAN membership and overloading networks. Version 1.7 already supported suppression of IP, IPX, NetBEUI and NetBIOS traffic; Version 1.8 adds DECnet, AppleTalk and Banyan VINES traffic suppression to the mix.

Another added feature of Cabletron's software is its ability to identify IP Multicast senders and receivers. This feature lets users auto-discover multicast channels and find out who's speaking on the channels. Version 1.7 recognised multicast receivers only.

Smart Network Services 1.8 also boasts the ability to associate virtual LANs with Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) addresses.

The software's DHCP relay agent allows users to define a scope of addresses per switch and associate VLANs to the scope. This ability enables administrators to point new users entering the network to a certain VLAN/subnet association.

Lastly, Smart Network Services 1.8 features tighter integration with Cabletron's Spectrum 5.0 management platform. This integration includes the ability to set threshold alarms and events, view performance reports and launch element management tools from Spectrum switch icons.

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