If it's a choice between a chassis-based and a stackable switch solution, why not go with both? A new class of switches bridges the gap between large, expensive, chassis-based switches and smaller, stackable switches offering much less flexible options.
Bay Networks' new Model 28200 Modular Ethernet Switch Chassis offers a lot of flexibility with respect to modularity, scalability, and cost containment. The 28200 is an ideal hybrid solution if you're looking for a 10/100Mbit/sec switch that simultaneously meets your growth and budget requirements.
The 28200 is similar to a full-blown chassis in that its components are modular. However, the product has only four module bays that support various switching modules.
The 28200's switching fabric is implemented in the main chassis and offers an aggregated switching bandwidth of 2Gbit/sec. It uses a store-and-forward switching architecture and a dedicated memory model. Each port gets a 256K dedicated packet buffer, implemented at the module level. In addition, the switching fabric can also buffer as many as two full-length packets (1,518 bytes each).
Currently, Bay has switching modules available that support switched 10Base-T and 10Base-FL Ethernet, as well as switched 100Base-TX and 100Base-FX Fast Ethernet. There is also a bridged 100Mbit/sec FDDI Dual Attachment Station module.
Regardless of the module types used, each port can support as many as 1,024 Media Access Control (MAC) addresses.
However, MAC address support is limited to 8,192 addresses per chassis.
The 28200 allows for stacking units over a 200Mbit/sec full-duplex (yielding 400Mbit/sec) data cascade, and it supports as many as six units per stack. In order to take advantage of the stacking capabilities, you'll need to insert a data cascade module in one of the module bays. One caveat, however, is that the data-cascading module won't actually ship until October.
My one disappointment with the 28200 is that it doesn't really support hot swapping of the modules. I was able to insert and remove modules while the unit was on, but in order to make them operational, I had to reset the switch.
I used Bay's Optivity Campus, version 6.0 for HP OpenView, network management product to test the 28200's management features.
The Bottom Line: Very Good
Model 28200 Modular Ethernet Switch ChassisBay Networks' 28200 switch chassis bridges the gap between power and affordability, offering much of the flexibility of a chassis-based solution but at the high end of the stackable price range.
Pros: Modular capacity and flexible configuration options; 2Gbit/secswitching fabric; supports as many as 32 virtual LANs per unit.
Cons: Some features not available until October, such as fullyimplemented RMon and a data-cascading module.
Price: $6,594 for 28200 chassis
Platforms: Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, or FDDI.
Bay Networks Tel: (02) 9437 6122 Fax: (02) 9906 7519 info: www.baynetworks.com