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HP Offers New Networking Hardware To Target Cisco Competition

HP is introducing several new networking switches, wireless access points and other products on Monday in a direct challenge to market leader Cisco Systems. In launching the new products, HP shared benchmarking results that showed significant improvements in capacity, performance, energy efficiency and latency over comparable Cisco switches and access points. The new products are being unveiled at Interop IT Conference and Expo 2011 in Las Vegas.

HP is introducing the A 10500 line of campus core switches, which will be available in the second half of 2011. The company is also unveiling the E5400 and E8200 switches, as well as the E-MSM400 line of wireless access points, all available now. Citing benchmarking tests by Tolly Enterprises, the A 10500 switches, for instance, deliver lower latency and higher performance than "our nearest competition," says Mike Banic, VP of marketing for HP Networking.

"I don't mind being overt about it. We did this comparison versus a Cisco Catalyst 6500. Compared to the 6500 customers can purchase today, it delivers 250 percent higher switching capacity and 270 percent higher 10 Gigabit Ethernet wire-speed ports," says Banic.

Likewise, HP claims that the E5400/E8200 switches provide 90 percent lower latency, 600 percent higher performance and 35 percent lower energy consumption compared with the competition, while the access points offer 50 percent higher performance, can manage up to 15 high-definition video streams each, and, with one console, can manage as many as 2,500 devices.

While those numbers look impressive, they need to be viewed cautiously, says Zeus Karravella, an analyst with the Yankee Group. "They're comparing themselves to Cisco products that are a few years old now, so there's no doubt that [the HP products are] higher performing," says Karravella. He adds that the new HP switches are just for campus networks, not data center networks.

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