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SMC, Agere team on Gigabit Ethernet switch

Posted by iTech - 2005-10-16

SMC Networks this week brought out the TigerSwitch 1000, a Gigabit Ethernet workgroup switch.:
On the surface, this announcement smacks of the TigerStack 1000 series of switches that was introduced several months ago.

The key difference is that the TigerStack 1000 series comes in 24-port and 48-port varieties and can be stacked with other switches, while the TigerSwitch 1000 comes with 48 ports of Gigabit Ethernet and two 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. Another key difference is that the stackable variety does Layer 3 routing, while this new device is a Layer 2 switch. Lastly, the stackable version costs $4,400 for 48 ports, while the stand-alone version is $2,000.

One interesting aspect of this latest announcement is the prominence of Agere Systems in SMC’s press release. Many times, switch makers will use integrated circuits from third parties but won’t tell you who those third parties are.

This time around, SMC is throwing around Agere’s name like it means something. SMC says it is using Agere’s ET4K chip, as well as Agere’s Octal TruePHY 1081. The ET4K is a single-chip 48-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, meaning SMC’s entire box is served by this one chip. SMC notes the efficiency of designing around a single chip.

The chip is the newest from Agere, so both companies benefit from getting the word out that the chip is being used. How would users benefit? Fewer parts generally means better reliability, and should mean lower cost. Overall, the joint announcement by the two companies acknowledges a reality that the name inside the box is just as important as the name on the box itself.

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