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Managed Switchs

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  • Networking
Last response: in Networking
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September 8, 2006 6:47:05 PM

I am in the process of doing an upgrade to our network infrastructure and have a question about managed switches (3 in particular).

A brief layout of what we have...We currently have about 100 in-house users and another 50 or so at two satellite offices. We are using everyday run-of-the-mill fast ethernet switches and we have approximately 20 of those remote locations that RDP into the network to access a financial system, the rest access that system internally to use another application as well as internet access (via a dedicated T-1), file sharing, multiple printer/copier access and access to a anti-virus server.

While investigating managed switches there are quite a few with the base functions I need (Flow control, VLAN support, auto MDI/MDI-X, etc) as well as with a lot of other features some which are cool some worthless to me.

My question is given my operational situation what would my best choice be when I am confronted with these three choices:

1. CNet CNSH-2400 $70.98 each
2. 3Com SuperStack 3 Switch 4226T $314.98 each
3. Cisco Catalyst 2950T-24 $809.97 each

Obviously we are going to want the best product for the price, but I also know that just because you spend more does not mean you get the best product.

Why should I choose the Cisco over the 3COM or either over the CNet?

I think in my given situation that the Cisco switch is overkill and unnecessary, the 3COM is desireable but doesn't have anything more than the CNet switch does so why not get the CNet switch?

I guess what I am getting at is I have to find a way to justify spending $6479.76 for 8 Cisco switches when we can get 8 CNet switches for $567.84.

Thoughts or suggestions please...

More about : managed switchs

September 9, 2006 11:03:45 PM

You might want to rethink both the 3Com and the CNet switches. According to CNet's site, I cannot locate the CNSH-2400, and 3Com has discontinued the 4226T.

That said, when shopping switches, you need to pay attention to the backplane of the switch. If you have 24 100Mb ports, you want at least a 4.8Gbps backplane (sometimes called the switching fabric). Otherwise, you run the risk of overutilizing the switch's backplane when heavy traffic comes.

Now, on the support note, in order to maintain your IOS on Cisco, you need to maintain annual support, which I always thought was a pain. I had several 3Com's in the past (the 3300XM I believe) and had no issues with them at all. Given the choice of the 3 manufacturers listed, I would choose the 3Com. I have never even heard of a CNet switch until now, and I wouldn't bank my reputation on it.

When it comes to your reputation, saving a company a few hundred dollars may look good short term, but if the equipment causes trouble, you'll end up looking terrible.

As Bruce Campbell said in "Army of Darkness":

"Shop smart. Shop S-Mart."

EDIT: I just noticed the Cisco 2950 is discontinued too. Have you researched this lately on the mfr's web sites?
September 10, 2006 3:20:14 AM

HP has come up quite frequently, maybe look at their offerings?
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September 13, 2006 7:24:17 PM

Cisco is top notch when it comes to switches and routers. They're high quality, fail rarely, has excellent technical support, and basically.. just rock.

I'd go with the Cisco, regardless of the price. You won't be able to do as much with the other switches as you would with Cisco.
September 13, 2006 7:39:08 PM

Quote:
Cisco is top notch when it comes to switches and routers. They're high quality, fail rarely, has excellent technical support, and basically.. just rock.

I'd go with the Cisco, regardless of the price. You won't be able to do as much with the other switches as you would with Cisco.


Do as much as far as what? I need them to do very basic managed switch functions as stated in my first post.

And I cannot ignore price, it has to be held in regard because the bosses will ask why I want to spend $6000 on switches that I can get for $600 and price will have to be justified.

Quote:
You might want to rethink both the 3Com and the CNet switches. According to CNet's site, I cannot locate the CNSH-2400, and 3Com has discontinued the 4226T.

That said, when shopping switches, you need to pay attention to the backplane of the switch. If you have 24 100Mb ports, you want at least a 4.8Gbps backplane (sometimes called the switching fabric). Otherwise, you run the risk of overutilizing the switch's backplane when heavy traffic comes.


The CNet switch was mis-typed by me, sorry, it's a CSH-2400:
http://www.cnetusa.com/newwebsite/products/switches.htm


Can you explain that last bit... I'm not following...
September 14, 2006 3:50:47 AM

You get what you pay for. If all you need is basic VLAN capabilities then 3Com sounds like a good match. That is not to say that a 3Com can't do advanced things, it's just that most people like to go with Cisco or HP for more advanced networks just because they are a lot more widely supported.

Also, if you buy a CNet switch and it breaks two months down the road, how fast is CNet going to get you a new one? Try finding support #s for each manufacturer, and then call and judge based on the support experience you get.
September 14, 2006 10:12:35 PM

HP's equipment is called Procurve

Adtran is another reliable networking equipment vendor that I've worked with in the past.

both companies use basically the cisco IOS, but might have a few command differences.
September 15, 2006 12:25:27 AM

Huh, I didn't know Adtran made anything besides CSU/DSUs until just now. 8)
September 15, 2006 3:54:49 PM

The Cisco equipment will give you far greater control over everything on your network.. but in your case its over kill.

Any good brand name that supports VLAN will suffice for you. MDI-X comes on all new switches these days.. and its available on all ports instead of just port 1.

The 3Com will benefit you and will provide a basic interface for what you need, the VLan basically. CNet, blah. I'll stick with the big names.. I didn't see any Linksys business switches that offered VLan support, meaning you'd have to bump up to Cisco grade in order to get that function.

3Com will do what you need and be reliable.
September 21, 2006 3:06:45 PM

Ahh good eye. I looked at the Cisco stuff and it had VLAN listed a main benefit. You had to read the description on the 8 port, the 24 port one I looked at described it as 802.1x with RADIUS security. I was glancing around for VLANs. :) 
September 21, 2006 6:38:03 PM

I would look at stackable switches as well, 3com has good ones with some as high as 40gb switching backplane. You eliminate hops for traffic and stacked switches allow single ip address management. smc and netgear also have some pretty good ones. for 100 users you look at what 5 24 port 2 for the other offices and 1 for spare. The other thing to look at is are they store and forward or first in first out. if you need basic no vlan which sounds like you dont layer 2 should be fine.
September 21, 2006 8:11:15 PM

Stacking is only useful is all the switches are in the same physical location. So if they aren't then it does you no good. But if they are, then stacking is a good thing because it does eliminate the uplink bottleneck. Also, most all switches default to store and forward and there's really no reason to change it unless you have a specific issue that requires it.
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