Wireless Networks Thread, Switch Replacement/Upgrade Advice (low budget) in Technical; We are planning to move our main server base & ICT Suites to a new area of the school during ...
22nd February 2008, 01:40 PM #1
Switch Replacement/Upgrade Advice (low budget)
We are planning to move our main server base & ICT Suites to a new area of the school during the summer, and this will be a perfect time to review our infastructure and where approproate upgrade and enhance what we have in terms of switches.
Unfortunately, because we're spending alot just on the move itself, we'll be on a tight budget for infastructure upgrades, thus unable to go for the kind of switch hardware which is usually deemed desirable. A low-down of the situation at current:
6 cabinets throughout the school (labelled by number for reference):
- Cab A (current backbone): 1x Planet 24port, 1x D-Link 48port, 1x Planet with 4 Gib ports and 4x fiber ports (core switch)
- Cab B: 1x Planet 48port
- Cab C: 1x Planet 48port
- Cab D: 1x Planet 24port (this will be removed summer and become new backbone, with switches/hardware yet to be decided!)
- Cab E: 2x Netgear 48port, 1x Planet 24port
- Cab F: 2x Netgear 24port, 2x Planet 24port
All except cabs C & D have fiber.
Now, as you are probably thinking, we don't have the best switches in the world (in fact, some of you probably throw away switches better than most of what we have here). The planets are back from years ago and as the remaining ones have yet to breakdown (surprisingly), we haven't been able to justify replacing them.
Also, as you see, we don't have much consistancy in the model/manufacture, although the long-time plan is to get rid of every planet and try and consolidate what we have into just 1 or 2 types of branded switches.
I have extensively read many threads on this forum about folk asking for advice on switches to go for, and HP Procurve and their line of core switches is a consistant favourite. Regretably, we couldn't possibly justify this kind of cost, and considiering we have only ever gone for budget switches (as evident), to request a switch costing 10x more, for what appears to do the same (we know it doesn't), cannot be justified in any way to the powers that be.
Basically, in the HP range, all that is in our budget for cab switches are the lower-end web managed switches (1800-24 for instance). If we can't afford HP, which is a good recommended 2nd best out of dlink and netgear? We have more netgears than D-Link so netgear (for consistancy) would be a good choice, but of course the point of this thread was to gain some insight into what others have and recommend.
Please don't recommend cab-based switches in 4-figures prices as we simply can't justify that cost, and if we could, I wouldn't be here now asking for advise on the budget lines
However, for the core switch, we may be able to stretch to low-end 4 figure, but could I also ask for some cheaper, good alternatives (sounds too good to be true when you say it like that)!
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22nd February 2008, 02:11 PM #2
Have you considered refurbished 2nd hand switches? Also can you illustrate how you cabs are connected? i.e. What your network topology looks like?
22nd February 2008, 02:17 PM #3
I use the Netgear Smart Switch range which have all the features I need and are very affordable:
22nd February 2008, 02:21 PM #4
We always prefer to go new for switches, as like many things, they wear over time and more chance of ports breaking etc.
To put simply:
|--- Cab B
| |--- Cab C
| |--- Cab D
|--- Cab E
|--- Cab F
Cabs C&D run off B via copper, but this is completely changing in summer. Effectively, Cab D will become the new core (in the new location), and Cab A will be the core switch for the other building (there are 2 separate buildings joined by fiber); we are also considering running 2 fibers between the builings if that will make any difference, as opposed to 1 currently. Although, it was more hardware we are looking at getting recommendations for.
Low budgets means no more than 400-450 per switch (not the 100 or 200 we paid for the planets)
Dos_Box, the Netgear GS748T looks appealing to us, which has smart management, gigabit and significantly cheaper than D-Link's 1248t (which I can't see why). For the 24port switches, is there any reason why we shouldn't opt for the HP 1800-24 as opposed to dlink/netgears similar offerings?
Last edited by dgsmith; 22nd February 2008 at 02:24 PM.
22nd February 2008, 02:49 PM #5
You should be able to get decent managed HP switches for £300 - £400 and a good HP backbone switch with the money you have left.
22nd February 2008, 03:00 PM #6
I'm starting to come to the conclusion that the more expensive lines of switches are sold mostly on FUD - the switches are more expensive, therefore they must be better, therefore we'd better buy them. No-one's yet managed to coherently explain to me what it is that a more expensive switch does that a less expensive one doesn't. Salespeople have assured me that a more expensive switch provides "reports 'n' stuff", which doesn't really justify an extra £8,000 on the price. Spend enough (around £400, like you reckoned) to get a switch with a decent backplane throughput, darned if I can figure out what any other features you actually need.
Originally Posted by DaveSmith
You can often get HP stuff off eBay for quite a reasonable price.
HP Procurve and their line of core switches is a consistant favourite.
I think we're probably going with Dell switches - like you, we have no money, and a new building to wire up come summer. The good thing about Dell is that you have loads of resellers desperately trying to undercut each other. We got a quote from Oliis which cut the price of £2,500 worth of Dell equipment as listed by their website to around £2,000, which struck me as pretty good.
22nd February 2008, 03:34 PM #7
Too late now of course, but try and get involved in any new builds in the planning stage. That way you can try and get the networking put in as part of the build and thus costings.
I really don't understand why this doesn't happen by default though. I mean, you wouldn't expected to have a new block built and expect to have to install the plumbing or electrics yourself after the fact now would you?
22nd February 2008, 04:12 PM #8
As dhicks said, paying through the nose for fully-blown switches that don't really seem to have any noticeable performance increase seems rather daft. Of course, noone in this sort of environment should go for unmanaged now, but smart/web managed switches are still sufficient enough i'd imagine to do the tasks one would usually want and/or need?
We have yet to make use of any of the management features in our few "smart" managed switches, and I doubt we would make use of any (or any more) on fully-blown managed.
Given we already have some netgears, it makes sense to go with them both for consistancy and of course for their good price. I'm looking at the GSM7312 for a backbone (which has enough capacity what we need now and for expansion). Are there any others here who have an all-over netgear network or at least have netgear equipment in place which has performed well?
Their ProSafe line I have heard positive remarks from, so that looks appealing given our financial restraints, but I wouldn't want them to fallover a few years down the line (especially with just a few years warranty, it seems).
Geoff, last-minute and late budgeting is something we have grown used to here
25th February 2008, 02:37 PM #9
We use entirely Smart Managed Netgear Switches in our Cabinets, linked back to a HP Procurve core switch.
We did have some issues with Netgear stuff in the core while under heavy load which prompted the move to the HP but the Layer 2 netgear stuff should be plenty for your enviroment.
25th February 2008, 05:47 PM #10
I can highly recommend the new HP 2510 - a 24 port 10/100 switch with dual Gigabit uplinks, for either copper or fibre. I installed a couple of these recently and bought them for £155 each!
I would also recommend sticking to one brand of switches/access points. It does save a lot of compatability problems
Edit: I know you can't spend a lot, but seriously, you cannot go wrong with these!
Last edited by Michael; 25th February 2008 at 05:56 PM.
25th February 2008, 07:07 PM #11
Yes. There are a couple of odd ancients dotted around, but almost all my core is Netgear Prosafe. GSMs for the server room and secondary cab, and then branching out by fibre or copper to FSM726s, 728s, and a handful of unmanaged.
Originally Posted by DaveSmith
Never had a problem with reliability or speed, and the managed variants will quite happily do 802.1x, VLANs, SNMP etc. The 726s and 728s will take reasonably priced fibre modules at a gigabit.
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