HP Takes New Turn With ProCurve

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HP is prepping a new class of products it hopes will set Cisco Systems and other networking rivals on their ears.

As part of its ProCurve family of products, HP announced its first ever ProCurve Secure Router 7000dl series and its Access Controller Module software ($5,499) for the ProCurve Switch 5300xl.

Shipping on April 1, the hardware and software are designed to help small-to-medium-sized businesses secure the edge of their networks.

The new portal router helps fill out HP's overall networking strategy, which currently includes traditional core switches like its 9300; interconnect fabric switches like its 6400 series; intelligent EDGE switches like its chassis 5300 series and stackable 3400 series; and Edge switches like its 4100, 2800 and 2600 series.

HP is also positioning the new products at half the price of comparable Cisco products and other competitive networking players like Linksys, NetGear and D-Link.

"Companies can now turn to ProCurve for a complete, end-to-end networking infrastructure that can easily grow and evolve with their business needs," John McHugh, vice president and general manager of HP's ProCurve networking division, said in a statement.

Designed for branch offices, HP said its new 7000dl family is designed to support multiple configurations and images for easy roll-back if required. HP said the new 7000dl series routers use standard compact flash and memory, unlike Cisco's proprietary versions.

The new ProCurve family includes an integrated firewall and Network Address Translation (NAT) in base platform. HP said software to accommodate VPNs is available now, with other portal applications to follow.

The routers include a firewall to prevent Denial-of-Service attacks, an access control list (ACL) and virtual local area network (VLAN) support to restrict traffic flow and an 802.1X client. The 7000dl series also has an optional IPSec VPN termination to allow remote users to connect to their corporate offices.

The first two products to be introduced as part of ProCurve's WAN portfolio include the 7102dl ($1,499) and 7203dl ($2,999) routers.

The 7102dl router includes two slots to support WAN interface cards and is designed to support up to four T1/E1 connections. The 7203dl router includes two slots and one wide slot to support modular WAN interface cards and is designed to support up to 12 T1/E1 connections. The routers support standard protocols and interoperate with legacy and multi-vendor products.

HP said it also designed them for a wider audience of wireless LAN users with its new Virus Throttle technology.

Developed by HP Labs, Virus Throttling detects worm activity as traffic enters the LAN and passes through the network switch. The infection is then sent back to allow the network manager to react and take action before the virus spreads.

Earlier this month, HP enhanced its 5300 switches and ProCurve Manager with HP Virus Throttle technology. Now, the upcoming Release 3 of the Access Controller will help parry day-zero, worm-type viruses like the infamous Slammer worm that spread very rapidly and caused untold amounts of damage, HP said.

"At 5:29, there were no infections on that day in January. By 6:00, there were 74,855 systems infected," Amol Mitra, director of worldwide product marketing for HP's ProCurve Networking division, told internetnews.com. "Virus Throttling with this Access Controller could have prevented that rapid spread."

The Access Controller Module is client-based software based on Layer 3 roaming and is centrally managed from the ProCurve Secure Access Server 740wl. HP said the software also frees up the need to have authentication software on a separate appliance.

Virus Throttle software is free for download for customers who currently own or purchase the ProCurve Switch 5300xl and ProCurve Manager Plus.

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