While small in headcount, SMBs oftentimes make big demands of their networks. D-Link's Mark Prowten, vice president for the company's North American enterprise and channel sales unit, believes the DGS-1500 hits the sweet spot between basic networking equipment and full-featured, enterprise class switches.
"The D-Link SmartPro switches bridge the gap between an unmanaged switch with minimal features, and a more expensive fully-managed switch that offers features beyond what small- to medium-sized businesses need," states Prowten. He adds, "SmartPro switches are designed to provide customers with a secure, reliable and affordable way to grow and manage their networks while reducing complexity and overall cost."
The Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) DGS-1500 line supports upmarket capabilities like virtual LANs (VLAN) and static routing. Included virtual stacking support consolidates IP addresses, making up to 32 devices appear as one IP. According to D-Link, this eases network management over small workgroups and allows IT departments to incorporate additional switches to without special cables.
A healthy dose of future-proofing comes from IPv6 security and quality of service functions. But do small businesses really need them?
Prepping SMB Networks for IPv6
The final pool of IPv4 addresses ran out in 2011, clearing the way for broader IPv6 adoption. Although most SMBs don't have a pressing need for IPv6 support at this early stage, their networks increasingly play host to a growing number of IPv6-enabled devices, including Macs and Windows PCs of recent vintage.
In time, gaining visibility into IPv6 traffic will take on added importance for SMBs. In fact, now may be a good time to start considering IPv6's impact on small business networks.
Kerio, a firewall provider, recently added IPv6 support to its UTM (Unified Threat Management) appliance for SMBs. The company's vice president of business development, James Gudeli said at the time, "If users are trying to get an IPv6 address, and you don't realize that your DSL modem from your Internet Service Provider will provide it to them, you could open up a hole that you don't know about."
D-Link's SmartPro switches feature a dual IPv4/v6 stack and IPv6 management features that provide "a seamless transition from IPv4 to IPv6 services and help customers to protect and future-proof network investments," according to the company. These include support for IPv6 Neighbor Discovery, IPv6 RADIUS Server and SSL.
SmartPro switches also help small business owners keep electric bills in check with the company's D-Link Green Technology, which detects cable length and takes it into account when sending power to each port. Smart fans, power-over-Ethernet (PoE) scheduling and sleep mode for unlinked ports help round out SmartPro's green networking feature set.
D-Link DGS-1500 SmartPro Series switches go on sale in April. Prices start at $399.99 and top out at $1139.99.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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