We're about to undergo some fairly substantial changes to our network (both expansion and tidying of the existing infrastructure to cut out some old, daisy-chained hubs). The end result will be one core switch feeding:
- four edge switches (three data and one VoIP)
- seven wireless access points
- a few servers
- a router to the outside world.
We have a suite of 16 computers (with their own edge switch), about as many classroom computers plus a few admin machines. On the wireless network, we have a trolley of 36 netbooks and 12 staff laptops. The VoIP network has 4 handsets and capacity for 3 more.
A lot of my specifications are for future-proofing:
- The uplinks are currently copper but I'd like the ability to replace two of them (those furthest away) with fibre in the future.
- 16 ports would be enough at the moment but I'd like a bit of headroom for future expansion.
- Most of our wireless access points have mains sockets reasonably nearby but I'd prefer to power them by PoE as they are occasionally unplugged by "helpful" people.
- I'd rather avoid PoE midspans / injectors. Our cabinet's already pretty short of space.
EDIT 1: The requirement for a managed switch is so I can get some idea of traffic and prioritise certain ports if necessary.
EDIT 2: I consider 100Mbit to be old technology and would rather deliver gigabit connectivity everywhere.
Like others have said, also consider the netgear GS724TP. All ports are gigabit and you get 2 shared SFP uplink ports. You will get upto 802.3af class 4 PoE on all 24 copper ports. You will get a lifetime warranty although I believe this excludes PSU's and the fans. Probrand/ITindex are doing them for £340 + VAT
Also bear in mind if you are using the fibre uplinks, for HP's you will be tied to using their tranceivers which are considerably more expensive than the generic ones you can use in Netgears (although you can buy netgear branded ones if you are particularly anal about your tranceivers) :)
We have 2 dozen of the 48 port version of these switches at all our edges and they run sweet. Those who are cussing netgear probably got stung by using consumer products on their network :rolleyes:
From reading this thread, PoE seems more critical rather than gigabit. The cost and hassle of installing injectors everywhere, you may as well buy a decent switch from the start.
A lot of networks I support these days are going down the wireless route, so other than gigabit at the core and the links, I don't think gigabit to the desktop is really needed. Only with high bandwidth applications you may notice the difference with a gigabit switch. It really depends how good the workstations are at the other end too :)
Whatever you decide, try and stick to the same brand throughout your network. It does make all the difference.
My problems with netgear are as follows:
The management side of it is messy. We put a couple of them in some of our feeder schools and I hated every second of configuring them.
When deciding on whether to use HP, Cisco, 3Com, Netgear or D-Link back when I did our upgrade, I found many people complaining that the netgears were 'buggy' and that their support was nowhere near as responsive or good as HP's (next day swap our lifetime warranty is pretty sweet - even if we've never used it).
Bad experiences with their consumer grade gear (not a good metric on its own, but helpful to include).
Sorry guys. But lifetime warranty is not everything that counts. i need a switch that support the protocols and features that I need, constant software updates.
Therefore a HP V1910 (== 3Com 2928) will beat e.g. a HP 1810 switch.
Lifetime warranty is much more valuable to me than the need to buy extended warranty or additional warranty requirements.
Yes support, updates and features are important, but if possible, look for features and protocols, as well as warranty.
As @localzuk quite rightly said, buy cheap, pay twice.