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Dell lowers price on Ethernet switches

Company announces new low-cost switches designed to be easier for small and midsize businesses to manage.

Dell has again lowered the price and tried to increase the convenience of Ethernet switches for small and midsize businesses.

The company on Monday announced the PowerConnect 2700 Series of Ethernet switches. The new products can be used either right out of the box as unmanaged switches or can be configured so they can be fully managed through the Web.

Dell has slashed the price per port on the PowerConnect 2700 to as low as $16 per gigabit Ethernet port. Dell?s PowerConnect 2600 offers gigabit Ethernet for around $22 per port on an unmanaged switch.

The switches come with a console that requires no special knowledge of complex management interfaces such as Command Line Interface, Telnet or SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), the company said, making it simpler for small businesses that generally do not have a dedicated IT staff.

The product comes in three varieties: the 8-port PowerConnect 2708, the 16-port PowerConnect 2716, and the 24-port PowerConnect 2724. Pricing starts at $139 for the 8-port, $269 for the 16-port, and $369 for the 24-port version.

Smaller businesses represent a major opportunity for technology companies such as Dell. In total, smaller companies spend more than $80 billion on hardware products, software and services each year in the United States, according to IDC. And the market is still growing as many small and midsize companies are just now installing more advanced networking technology.

Since entering the networking business, Dell has concentrated on the low end of the market, specifically small and midsize businesses, educational institutions and customers operating in remote offices. Its focus on providing easier-to-use, low-cost products has challenged market leader Cisco Systems. Other competitors, such as 3Com and Hewlett-Packard, are also addressing this market segment with low-cost switches.

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