Posted by Paul Mah

Network giant Cisco has its eyes cast on SMB networking, with the unveiling of the Cisco 100 series unmanaged switch designed for small and mid-sized businesses.  The Cisco 100 series replaces the previous SD and SR switches, and comes with a number of enhancements where power management is concerned.

Speaking to, Mark Monday, Cisco’s vice president and general manager of small-business solutions, confirmed that the new series is designed to be entry-level devices for Cisco’s networking portfolio.  Monday said of the series:

It’s really focused on the customer that doesn’t want to bother with trying to do any configuration.

Cisco officials say that the 100 Series switches are only the first of a lineup that the company has planned for SMBs.

As a value offering, the Cisco 100 Series will use the open source Linux operating system instead of Cisco’s proprietary IOS operating system, which is typically reserved for the company’s high-end enterprise devices.  With models sporting between eight to 24 Ethernet ports, the new switches come in desktop and rack-mount form factors, and in flavors of Fast Ethernet or Gigabit transfer rates.  For SMBs with more specialized needs, there is also an 8-port 10/100 model with Power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities.

The new switches also have been designed to minimize energy consumption. The Cisco 100 will put unused ports into sleep mode in the absence of any attached devices, or if they are turned off; the ports are automatically enabled when the link is re-established.  To meet the cable’s optimal power requirements, the new series of switches tweaks its power output according to the length of connected cables.

On the wireless front, Cisco has launched the RV 120W Wireless-N VPN Firewall, which was designed for smaller businesses or branch offices with 20 or fewer employees.  The 802.11n access point comes with a four-port switch, and as its name suggests, comes with a built-in firewall and related security functions, as well as support for IPsec VPN.  In addition, guest users are supported and can connect to the RV 120W with secure access.