Today, Dell is making multiple announcements to strengthen its SMB networking portfolio. It is expanding its existing N-series of fully managed switches with the N1500 family of fully managed 1GbE switches optimized for smaller networks. It is also announcing a brand new family of smart-managed 1GbE and 10GbE switches, the X-series, which is aimed at the smaller part of the SMB segment.
“We are really excited about these announcements,” said Arpit Joshipura, vice-president, Strategy and Product Management, Dell Networking. “They give our SMB customers the latest innovations that only enterprise customers have had before.”
Joshipura said the X-series is purpose-built for its market.
“Last year we reworked our entire campus networking portfolio, and have been very successful with it in education, government and health care,” he said. “The enterprise campus market received our products quite well. However, smaller companies also want enterprise features, but at a price and complexity level that’s right for them. Instead of taking our enterprise portfolio and downsizing it for the smaller market, we decided to redesign it with a purpose-built product.”
The X-series is a replacement for the Dell PowerConnect 2800 smart switch family, but Joshipura said it is a quantum leap over the older models.
“The X-series will replace the PowerConnect 2800 series, but it is also an expansion of it,” Joshipura said. “There’s a lot more SKUs and a lot more innovation.” These include compact, rack mountable, and fanless models, PoE, PoE+, and PoE powered options, and a range of between 8-52 ports. The series also includes the industry’s first smart web managed 10GbE all fiber switch.
The X-series also features advanced network management through what Dell has trademarked as the SmartGUI, which has step-by-step wizards and customizable dashboards to simplify configuration, calibration and troubleshooting.
“With this GUI, designed to be logically intuitive, as well as other features like a security lock, we have given SMBs what they like and need,” Joshipura said.
The X-series is targeted at small standalone offices and small distributed units of enterprises.
“The X-series really fits in these small offices of between 25 and 50 people, and is a strong fit in distributed enterprise offices like retail outlets and auto stores, where you have small sites,” Joshipura said.
The N-series switches, unlike the X-series, are fully managed, so they have a command line interface and SNMP management capabilities. The news here is that Dell has added a new family, the N1500, to give a smaller alternative to the existing N2000, N3000 and N4000 families. The N1500 is a 1GbE switch, comes in 24 and 48 port models, and has PoE+ and non-PoE options. They use a comprehensive enterprise-class Layer 2/3 feature set, have the CLI for consistent management, and standard 10GbE SFP+ transceivers and cables for stacking, providing up to 200 1GbE ports in a 4-unit stack.
“The N1500 family is aimed more at medium sized standalone and distributed offices, and as you get to larger offices here, beyond 500 employees, there is a need for some additional features like port stacking,” Joshipura said.
“These products were all built with the channel in mind, because we know they will be going down the channel route,’ Joshipura stated. “Partners’ troubleshooting times will be reduced, and the fast deployment and lifetime warranty will really cut their costs.”
Joshipura also indicated that partners have also been given early access to details and spec sheets on these products.
“They are small little things, but are important to the channel,” he said.
Dell also announced that to reassure wireless customers and partners, extended support will be provided for the W-series family of wireless access points and controllers. Dell says it is committed to supporting the W-series without interruption throughout the product lifecycle.
The Dell Networking X-Series is available for order now. The Dell Networking N1500 will be available this summer.