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Slow Economy Revives Fast Ethernet, NetGear Responds With New Stackable Switches

The economic meltdown can mean new life for mature but inexpensive and efficient technologies like fast ethernet, and Netgear is responding with a new line of physically stackable managed switches and by adding "green" enhancements to its unmanaged switch line.Sanjay Kumar, director of SMB switching for NetGear, agreed that fast ethernet may be a mature technology, but said it's the current sweet spot for SMBs. "SMBs want to save money. They're not looking to future proof, so they're not going to gigabit ethernet."

The Ethernet switching market declined in the second half of 2008, Kumar said, and was expected to drop further in 2009. But with today's price pressures, that trend is being reversed.


The expansion of NetGear's ProSafe FSM line of managed, 10/100 ethernet switches combine manageability with a small 1U form factor and the ability to physically "stack" switches. Rather than "virtual stacking" or "clustering," physical stacking of up to 10 switches avoids potential bottlenecks and the cost of high-speed ports.

Street prices are estimated at $299.99 for the FSM726E (available now), $399.99 for the FSM7226RS (available now), and $679.99 for the FSM7250RS (available in April). The switches vary by capacity and other features.


NetGear is also enhancing its line of unmanaged switches -- the GS105, GS605, GS108, GS608, GS116, JGS516, JGS524 -- with "green" features designed to save energy and money. The new features include:

  • Auto Power link down mode  powers down port when not in use
  • Auto Cable length detection - automatically scales down power consumption based on cable length
  • Power consumption cut by 60% - compared to current versions
  • More competitive energy efficiency vs. competitors - average 30% power savings in low-port-count switches and 55% in high-port-count switches

The new versions will be available later this year, and will cost the same as the current models they replace.