If the Synoptics switch looks a bit like a VCR, the EtherStreamer looks like a bit of expensive hi-fi. All connectors for the unit are on the front panel, which also has airflow slots. Indicators show link presence, activity and full-duplex operation.
Beside the indicators is an AUI connector, providing the facility to attach an out-of-band network analyser. Of the eight ports, the furthest to the right is switchable between MDI and MDI-X, a feature more vendors would do well to copy. Various options will soon be available. We tested an early Fast Ethernet module.
The 8271 has a far superior manual to the Synoptics switch. It covers installation, location, network configuration and user interface and it comes in an easy to use ring binder. The product's management interface is menu-driven and accessed through serial or Telnet connections. A fair selection of options is provided. The switch is capable of full duplex operation on all ports, configured from the management interface. The 8271 is not truly stackable, in that one or more user ports must be taken up to join switches, but the availability of the option modules allows a fast link without using up too many of the ports available. On a unit of this size, having to use three ports to attain a usable inter-switch link would limit its usefulness severely.
It is worth noting the rather long initialisation time on the 8271 - up to three minutes. Most of the other switches we tested seemed to manage their self-test routines in a minute or less, so it is hard to say what is going on with the IBM switch. Most users, however, will not be needing to power down their units very often.
IBM EtherStreamer 8271
End user price for the configuration supplied: #3,328
Distribution channels: Direct and indirect
Distributors: Azlan, GBC, Data Translation Networking, ETC
Number of resellers supplied direct: 'About six'
Volume discount available: Through distributors
Co-operative marketing available: Yes
Other vendor promotional activity: Ads, seminars, mailshots
Accreditation required/available: Available
Var support line: Yes
Customer support line: Yes
Contact for sales enquiries: Chris Bickley 0181 818 4054.
Struggling security titan makes three board appointments after investor took 5.8 per cent stake last month
Commvault ousted its CEO in May and has since undergone a radical refocus
As employees demand more flexible working environments, CRN asks how the channel is adapting to the changing working landscape
Wall Street less than impressed with Oracle's growth as cloud numbers remain hidden