Huawei, China's technology powerhouse, on Thursday, launched what it sees as an industry-changing agile network architecture technology and Agile switch series, the S12700.

Networking's letters and numbers as product titles are always a mouthful but for those network IT managers concerned with all important switches for computer network connections, learning the names of products that solve their real problems will not be difficult.

Huawei is describing its new S12700 Agile switch series as introducing SDN (software Relevant Products/Services-defined networking) architecture into campus networks for the first time. In industry lingo, "campus" networks do not just pertain to colleges and universities but also to companies and public organizations where there is an interconnection of networks within a limited area.

The S12700 Agile switch series will come in two models and will arrive globally in October, but the company is wasting no time in seeding interest now. As of Thursday, the company is set to mount a global campaign to promote the switch in countries including the U.S.

Cisco Challenge

The Agile switch series is expected "to lead a new revolution in Ethernet switching technology and network construction" with its features including in-service software upgrades. But wait a minute, who is that pulling on the ropes on the other side of the ring? Of course, it's Cisco.

As a major U.S. provider of network switches, Cisco is being challenged for dominance in the global market. Industry data Relevant Products/Services shows Huawei is up against a real heavyweight champion. Cisco had a 58.8 percent share of the market for switches, which connect computer networks, in the first quarter compared with Huawei's 2 percent, according to data from IDC and Bloomberg Industries.

According to Cisco product documentation, the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series switches are "SDN ready, with a flexible architecture and API framework that allows developers to create and support SDN agents such as Netconf and OpenFlow."

Answers Call for Agility

The advantages of the Agile switch series are all about flexibility. The Huawei product represents programmable interfaces to network hardware, where IT managers will be able to manage their networks with features that save time and money.

The Agile switch series can handle software tasks as it carries its own processor, the Huawei Ethernet Network Processor (ENP). The architecture makes it possible to provision a customized service within six months, without replacing hardware. This feature is important at a time when networks need more agile services and enablers than ever before.

As Huawei executives point out, today's campus network infrastructure is challenged by dynamic enterprise Relevant Products/Services mobility and BYOD rollouts, cloud Relevant Products/Services services and applications, real-time Relevant Products/Services multimedia and unified communication applications.

Shifting the Focus

"The trends of broadband services, multimedia, mobility and social networking are shifting the focus of networks from technologies and devices to services, users and experiences," said William Xu, Chief Executive Officer, Huawei Enterprise Business Group.

A challenge for all network vendors is to deliver more efficient solutions for managing campus networks. Global-minded Huawei is up to the challenge.

In early 2011 the company began courting an enterprise customer Relevant Products/Services base with technology products and achieved enterprise sales of $1.9 billion in 2012. Huawei's switch series can only help support its goal for market expansion.