Dell EMC Debuts New Multi-Gig Open Network Switches

Dell EMC is expanding its networking portfolio with a pair of new open networking switches. The N3132PX-ON and N2128PX-ON switches are positioned by Dell EMC as multi-gig switches for campus networks.

The N3132 is a 32-port switch with 24 10/100/1000 Mbps with an additional 8 x 10/100/1000/2500/5000 Mbps ports. All 32 ports provide 60 watts of Power of Ethernet (PoE) and are all auto-sensing. The N2128-ON is similarly capable of handling 2.5Gbps (2500Mbps) Ethernet as part of its multi-gig Ethernet capability.

“This is net new gear,” Jeff Baher, senior director of product & solutions for technical marketing at Dell EMC Networking, told EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet. “The multi-gig and open networking capabilities are new to our campus switches.”

2.5 and 5 Gbps are relatively new entrants in the enterprise networking space. The official Ethernet standards for 2.5 and 5 Gbps were completed on Sep. 27, 2016 after two years of work. A key promise of 2.5 and 5 Gbps Ethernet is that they work over an organization’s existing Cat5/Cat6 cabling, providing more network capacity with wires that are already deployed.

Baher said that from a Dell EMC perspective, demand for 2.5/5Gbps networking gear has been high since the release of the company’s multi-gig Wave 2 Wi-Fi access points (W-AP330 series) late last year.

The Open Networking switch portfolio makes use of the Open Compute Project ‘s (OCP) Open Network Install Environment (ONIE). With ONIE, an open network switch is not bound to a specific network operating system and organizations can choose what they want to run. Dell has worked with Cumulus Linux to enable open networking choices for its customers. It’s not currently entirely clear which network operating system will be enabled on the new switches.

“The only combination currently supported is with Dell EMC software, but we will expand the supported ecosystem over time,” Baher said.

Looking forward, Baher said Dell EMC customers have shown a strong interest in standards-based, open networking gear.

“We plan to introduce additional ONIE-capable campus switches designed for a full range of network sizes and business needs,” Baher said. “We will continue to expand our ON portfolio both in the campus and data center to address greater capacity and capability.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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