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It's the beginning of May, so it must be time for the annual networking rite of spring, Interop Las Vegas. While the show is pretty much exclusively focused on enterprise-grade networking, I'm sure I'll be able to find a few things to interest those with smaller networks to run. Here's a quick round-up of pre-show announcements and news.

Netgear is entering the SSL VPN space with the announcement of its low-cost SSL312 ProSafe SSL VPN Concentrator 25. The company portrays the device as "an affordable and reliable" SSL VPN Solution with no licensing restrictions and capable of handing under 100 users. The product ensures data privacy with SSLv3 and TLSv1.0 with AES-256.

The SSL312's features include two 10/100 Ethernet ports plus a console port for remote manageability, Web interface with automatic cache clean up after each client's session, "granular policy configuration tools and logging support and diagnostics.

The SSL312 will be available in Q3 2006 at a list price of $545. Also of note is that Netgear is celebrating its 10 year anniversary and will be displaying its line of gigabit managed stackable switches and stackable smart switches at the show.

SMC Networks doesn't have a booth, but will be hosting private meetings to try out its "four levels of gigabit switching" pitch. The levels - Unmanaged, Smart, SMB Managed and Enterprise Managed Switches - are intended to span the range of cost / performance needs of SMB to enterprise users.

SMC pegs its per-port switch pricing at about $12 to $15 for unmanaged, $13 to $16 for "smart", $30 for gigabit SMB managed and "close to" $100 for Enterprise gigabit managed.

Like Netgear, D-Link is also aggressively pursuing the small-biz market and is using Interop to debut its first iSCSI system-on-chip storage products. The D-Link xStack Storage family includes the DSN-3200 and DSN-3400.

 D-Link xStack Network Storage

D-Link xStack Network Storage

Both can store up to six terabytes of data with a maximum of 15 serial ATA hard drives, and be configured with up to 512 MB of system memory and up to 4GB of battery-protected cache. Each is housed in a 3U 19" rack-mount chassis, has an iSCSI interface and supports RAID Levels 0, 1, 1+0, 5 and 7. The DSN-3200 has eight 1GbE copper ports, and the DSN-3400 features a single 10GbE fiber optic port.

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