Start-up company Amber Wave Systems Inc has launched an Ethernet switch – at a base price of $2,000 for eight ports. The product, for use with 10Base-T networks, has a five-slot backplane, with one slot for a system management board, and four slots for the company’s eight-port add-in boards, enabling the product to scale up […]
Start-up company Amber Wave Systems Inc has launched an Ethernet switch – at a base price of $2,000 for eight ports. The product, for use with 10Base-T networks, has a five-slot backplane, with one slot for a system management board, and four slots for the company’s eight-port add-in boards, enabling the product to scale up to 32 ports. Acton, Massachusetts-based Amber Wave says that, in this configuration, the product costs just $175 per port. Paul Chieffo, the company’s vice-president of engineering and co-founder, says Amber Wave opted for 10Base-T technology because this represents 90% of new Ethernet installations and the company has no plans to develop interfaces for other media. The product incorporates a high-speed packet bus which it says can provide sustained throughput of over 600Mbps, and support for more than 4,000 active network addresses. Additionally, it is to be Simple Network Management Protocol-manageable, and to provide IEEE 802.1D Spanning Tree algorithm support, Amber Wave notes. Indeed, the company claims the product’s low price makes providing redundancy via Spanning Tree economically viable for the first time. The company also plans to launch 100Base-T, 100Mbps Ethernet boards for the product next year – but it has no current plans to support the rival 100Base-AnyLAN standard.
Cheaper processing chips
According to Chieffo, potentially we could do AnyLAN, but the firm believes 100Base-T is going to be more popular because it is technologically simpler, resulting in cheaper processing chips, and so cheaper products. However, Chieffo adds that the company has not categorically ruled out AnyLAN, and if it proves to be widely adopted, then Amber Wave will look at developing products conforming to the standard. For the future, Amber Wave says it will add remote access and Asynchronous Transfer Mode capabilities to the switch, although the company currently has no time scale or product specifics for these. Amber Wave is now deciding on, and implementing its distribution strategy. Chieffo says we’re actually still answering distributor questions, and the company has not ruled out any channels, including having other suppliers take the product OEM. Similarly, in terms of its international strategy, Amber Wave is looking anywhere and everywhere says Chieffo, who adds that there has been a lot of international interest in the product already. In the US, the switch is due to go into beta test next quarter, with ships scheduled for the first quarter of next year. Privately-held Amber Wave was founded by former engineers at Artel Communications Corp, now owned by Chipcom Corp.