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Hardware Thread, Which switch? in Technical; Since I'm in the market for a new switch, one of mine having suddenly died, I'm wondering what people recommend. ...
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    leco's Avatar
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    Which switch?

    Since I'm in the market for a new switch, one of mine having suddenly died, I'm wondering what people recommend. The late switch was a 3Com 48 port managed, sorry can't remember the model.

    What are the advantages/disadvantages of managed switches? I haven't used the management console much as I don't know a lot about it or what can be done with it.

    Do switches need to be matched? The others on my network are 24 port unmanaged also 3Com.

    Is there a "switch life" as in the length of time they carry on working?

    Just mulling over the options and would appreciate some opinions please?

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    Generally speaking I'd always recommend your core switch be managed. This is where all switches and servers connect into, so if there are problems you can identify them quicker. Seeing as the rest of your network is 3com, I'd recommend you stick to one brand rather than mixing brands.

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    leco's Avatar
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    Thanks Michael. Next question - should it be Layer 2 or Layer 3? (Can you tell I'm learning fast about switches?) and what about Fast ethernet/Gigabit ethernet?

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    If its the main switch then I would go with at least gigabit

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    leco (23rd December 2009), speckytecky (23rd December 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by leco View Post
    Since I'm in the market for a new switch, one of mine having suddenly died, I'm wondering what people recommend. The late switch was a 3Com 48 port managed, sorry can't remember the model.
    Personally, I would say HP. However if the rest of your infrastructure is 3Com, it makes sense to stick with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by leco View Post
    What are the advantages/disadvantages of managed switches? I haven't used the management console much as I don't know a lot about it or what can be done with it.
    Network optimization. Features would include: VLAN's, Bandwidth Rate Limiting, Quality of Service (QoS), Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Port Mirroring, Trunking redundancy, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by leco View Post
    Do switches need to be matched? The others on my network are 24 port unmanaged also 3Com.
    You can mix managed & unmanaged switches, however once it leaves a managed switch, it just goes back to what it was before.

    Quote Originally Posted by leco View Post
    Is there a "switch life" as in the length of time they carry on working?.
    No not really, there is a warranty that "guarantees" the life of the switch. This would normally be between 5-10 years depending on the make and model (the more expensive ones, eg Cisco is about 10 years, I believe - but don't quote me).

    Quote Originally Posted by leco View Post
    Just mulling over the options and would appreciate some opinions please?
    I would say invest in managed switches and start making the move over to layer 3. However it does come at a cost: managed switches are more expensive than unmanaged switches, layer 3 switches are more expensive than layer 2 and gigabit switches are more expensive than 100mb ones.

    If you're going to start using wireless access points and IP phones, then POE switches would be a good choice, but then again, POE switches are more expensive than standard switches.

    It's about a balance between price and functionality for your organisation.

    -Ken

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    leco (23rd December 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by leco View Post
    Thanks Michael. Next question - should it be Layer 2 or Layer 3? (Can you tell I'm learning fast about switches?) and what about Fast ethernet/Gigabit ethernet?
    i would go for the 5500(G)-EI series. there fast, good and cheap

    bio..

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    Quote Originally Posted by wagnerk View Post
    Personally, I would say HP. However if the rest of your infrastructure is 3Com, it makes sense to stick with that.
    Technically they'll be the same company in the next 6 months or so

    Quote Originally Posted by wagnerk View Post

    No not really, there is a warranty that "guarantees" the life of the switch. This would normally be between 5-10 years depending on the make and model (the more expensive ones, eg Cisco is about 10 years, I believe - but don't quote me).
    On a lot of high end switches, particularly HP Procurves, you get a lifetime warranty. Some of the other brands are starting to offer these sorts of warranties as well to compete.

    I'd suggest making the move to gigabit - even more so if it's a core switch. The Layer 2/Layer 3 management is down to how much control you want and where the switch is going to be placed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soulfish View Post
    Technically they'll be the same company in the next 6 months or so
    Cisco & Linksys are technically the same company, but I wouldn't mix and match them in my environment, but I know what you mean

    Quote Originally Posted by Soulfish View Post
    On a lot of high end switches, particularly HP Procurves, you get a lifetime warranty. Some of the other brands are starting to offer these sorts of warranties as well to compete.
    Lifetime warranties aren't black and white, there are always conditions... HP's lifetime warranties are alot better than Cisco's though, lol

    -Ken

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    So in summary:
    3Com; managed, layer 3, gigabit, consider poe and look at 5500(G)-EI series

    Thanks guys, first thing I'll look at is when I bought it, doesn't seem that long ago.

    Have a good Christmas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wagnerk View Post
    Cisco & Linksys are technically the same company, but I wouldn't mix and match them in my environment, but I know what you mean
    I think we may see much tighter integration between HP and 3Com. Looks like HP really want 3Coms security bits and expertise integrated into their product lines as quickly as possible. Their products are more closely aligned than Cisco and Linksys which tend to compete in different sectors


    Lifetime warranties aren't black and white, there are always conditions... HP's lifetime warranties are alot better than Cisco's though, lol

    -Ken
    Very true!

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    Quote Originally Posted by leco View Post
    So in summary:
    3Com; managed, layer 3, gigabit, consider poe and look at 5500(G)-EI series

    Thanks guys, first thing I'll look at is when I bought it, doesn't seem that long ago.

    Have a good Christmas.
    Doesn't look bad:

    Upgradeable to Power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities with a field replaceable PoE-enabled power supply.
    See here.

    -Ken

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    We went with the HP 2810 series (even at the core), though we were budget restrained, and wanted something half decent (netgear was the 2nd choice). Are all gigabit except one where the money ran out (100mb), and all layer 2 as we had to do that to get the other ones and gigabit, and to buy HP in the first place!

    In hindsight we should have got a Layer 3 at the core, though that is quite easily upgradable as and when we need that functionality (we have no vlans, ip phones or anything like that, yet).

    PoE switches should be considered, though not PoE on every port, and not every switch. Maybe a 48 porter with 24 PoE ports would be sufficient, depends on the environment. We got an 8 port unmanaged with 4 PoE ports quite cheap recently (£75) to stick our new IP CCTV cams into.

    I don't rate 3Com that much, though they're by no means "bad". I'd suggest sticking with them too if the rest are the same.

    Lastly, don't touch unmanaged! Smart managed (reduced functionality) should be the very least, though as already said fully managed will be a wise decision (core or edge).

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    leco (24th December 2009)

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    Thanks Michael. Next question - should it be Layer 2 or Layer 3? (Can you tell I'm learning fast about switches?) and what about Fast ethernet/Gigabit ethernet?
    In simple terms layer 2 is for peer to peer communication and layer 3 is for process to process commmunication. There's also a massive difference in price too. Chances are layer 2 will be absolutely fine.

    As for Fast Ethernet and Gigabit, these operate at 100Mbps and 1000Mbps. In an ideal world all servers should be connected to the core switch and operate at 1000Mbps (1Gbps). This provides maxmimum bandwidth to workstations throughout the network. Unless your users are graphic designers shifting huge 500MB+ files then 100Mbps should be absolutely fine in most circumstances.

    In some very large networks 10GbE or 10,000Mbps (10Gbps) is becoming more common, however to be honest I've yet to see someone max out a 1000Mbps connection. Not impossible but incredibly difficult to do. It's still more cost effective to load balance across multiple servers or create an 8,000Mbps (8Gbps) trunk and a Quad Intel network adapter (for example).

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    I'm going to ask a really dumb question - what's the difference between an edge and a core switch? I'm guessing that an edge is the last switch before the WAN and a core is inside the LAN.

    I don't have any IP phones or a VLAN (nor any plans for either) and all the other switches are Layer 2. However, I do have wireless access points, some in "awkward" places so POE would be an advantage. But the switch does need to have 48 ports.

    I looked up the purchase date of the switch - 2006 - so after the hols I'll be contacting my supplier on replacement/repair options. Incidentally the model reached end-of-sale in January this year.

    Thanks once again.

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    NO you have

    Core---------------WAN would be here
    |
    Distribution
    |
    Access------------WLAN here

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