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HP ProCurve dangles free Gigabit switch chassis

...If you buy the port modules to go in it

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HP ProCurve has renewed its low-end stackable and chassis switches. Its range now starts at 50 quid with a fan-less, therefore silent, eight-port unmanaged Fast Ethernet switch, and runs up to chassis bundles that include a free chassis capable of hosting 188 Gigabit Ethernet ports at around £33 a port.

The new models include two fan-less Gigabit Ethernet unmanaged switches. The 1400-8G and 1400-24G have eight and 24 ports respectively, and are priced at £60 and £214. ProCurve said they replace its bulkier 2700 switches, which will go off sale next month.

Also fan-less are two new Web-managed switches – the 1700-8 at £50, and the 1700-24, which lists for £133. These are Fast Ethernet (10/100) versions of the 1800 Gigabit switches introduced last year, although the 1700-8 has one Gigabit uplink port and the 1700-24 has two.

"We are trying to bring more fan-less switches on board. Not only are they quieter, but they have longer life because they have no moving parts," said ProCurve tech consultant Nick Hancock. He added that while the 1800 has sold well, HP found some customers wanted a managed switch but didn't want to pay the price premium the Gig still carries.

On the chassis side, there are two high-density Gigabit modules for ProCurve's 4200vl series, one with 24 1000Base-T ports and the other with 20 Base-T ports and four slots for SFP modules, plus a new SFP optical module able to run Fast Ethernet (100-FX) up to 2km over multimode fibre.

"We have found a number of customers asking for long-distance connectivity and wanting to re-use their existing 62.5u FDDI fibre," Hancock said.

He added that until now, their only options were outdated fixed-format Fast Ethernet optics, or Gigabit SFP modules which were faster than Fast Ethernet but could only go 550m on multimode. Now, they can simply use a £120 100-FX transceiver in a modern switch, he said.

The new modules for the 4200vl can be used in either the eight-slot 4208 chassis or the four-slot 4204, and pack 24 Gigabit ports into a space that was formerly limited to 16.

They are available either as add-ons to an existing chassis, in which case they list for £795 for the all-copper version and £652 for the model with four SFP slots, or they can be bought as a complete bundle with what's in effect a free chassis.

Hancock said that the differential pricing – a 4208vl-72GS, including three 24-port modules, is £2242 – is deliberate. "The bundles are to create direct alternatives to stackables, so we offer very aggressive pricing," he claimed.®

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