The 5 best router and switch features you never use

An informal canvass of some leading switch and router vendors found that customers use less than half of the systems' capabilities

Few discover LLDP-MED, Ethernet OA&M

Other standards, like ANSI/TIA's LLDP-MED and the IEEE's 802.3ah for Ethernet OA&M, may be overlooked due to their relative unfamiliarity or specific niche function. LLDP-MED, which was defined to discover, configure and provision power to Power over Ethernet devices such asIP phones according to policy, was approved and published in 2006.

But wide adoption of a standard discovery or registration protocol for phones is limited.

The Ethernet OA&M aspect of the 802.3ah -- or Ethernet in the First Mile -- standard, attempts to bring carrier-like management to Ethernet access networks, such as discovery, link monitoring, remote fault indication and loopback detection.

Vendors say they are working to better educate their customers on the full breadth of features in their switches and routers before they spend money unnecessarily -- on a competitor's solution.

"There's a lot of misunderstanding," HP ProCurve's Hilton says. "Another vendor might say, 'You need this feature,' but we'll show them how to configure it on the switch."

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