Alcatel-Lucent ups the ante in unified access

Second rev of its strategy adds SDN and analytics to wired/wireless unification portfolio

At Interop this week, Alcatel-Lucent updated its wired/wireless unified access portfolio with a new access switch, and SDN and application analytics extensions.

The enhancements build upon Alcatel-Lucent’s unified access strategy announced last fall. The strategy competes with those from Cisco, HP, Brocade and Extreme Networks.

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The new access switch is the 1RU OmniSwitch 6860. It features 24 or 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports, four fixed 1G/10G SFP+ ports and two 20G Virtual Chassis link ports for stacking into a virtual chassis. Up to eight switches can be connected into a virtual chassis with up to 32 10G uplinks and 384Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The enhanced OmniSwitch 6860 “E” models also support four unique 1G PoE ports that offer up to 60 watts of power to support devices that require high power, such as small cells that combine cellular and Wi-Fi, and high definition video surveillance cameras.

The 6860 also includes embedded analytics and programmability, Alcatel-Lucent says. It features an ASIC and coprocessor for deep packet inspection and policy enforcement. This is intended to give IT more visibility into applications passing through it, bandwidth consumption, and enforcement of prioritization, QoS and security policies.

Programmability features include support for OpenFlow and OpenStack, meaning the switch can participate in an OpenFlow SDN and an OpenStack orchestrated cloud. It supports REST APIs, OpenFlow 1.0/1.3 and the ability to leverage OpenStack plug-ins, Alcatel-Lucent says.

On the wireless side, Alcatel-Lucent’s new OmniAccess 103, 274 and 275 WLAN controllers now feature deep packet inspection of up to 1,500 applications, 802.11ac gigabit speeds, and Aruba Networks’ AirGroup device registration capabilities.

Alcatel-Lucent also enhanced its OmniVista 2500 network management system to better support network analytics and cloud-based service consumption. The enhancements include multi-tenancy and a distributed architecture for resilience and scalability; northbound/southbound APIs for future interoperability in SDN architecture; a Web-based user interface for access from any browser-enabled device; and unified wired/wireless visibility and policy engine through centralized network analytics for wired and wireless networks.

Pricing for the 6860 starts at $4,595. It will be available in May.

The OmniAccess 274 and 275 are priced from $1,595 to $1,995. The OmniAccess 103 costs $395. The will be available later this month.

OmniVista 2500 will be available in July. Pricing will be announced then.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 27 years, 22 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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