Network switch sought



  • Hello,

    I need any recommendations for reliable network switches.  I would prefer not to pay the additional cost of a cisco switch, especially since I am not that familiar with programming them…

    I am trying to build a network that will handle hardware failures.  I need uptime.In my mind, I have two identical ethernet switches, vlan capable, gigabit or so, 8 to 16 ports per switch.  I will keep it simple at the moment:

    1. I thought of buying a big, redundantly powered switch that would withstand an emp of a small nuke.  Those are expensive.
    2. I though of using two cheaper switches on the theory that if one dies, buy anohter and replace it.

    I believe neither of these is perfect.  However as my budget is limited I am leaning towards option two.

    Features desired:

    • 802.1Q vlan

    • gigabit ethernet

    • 8-16 ports

    • commandline interface desired

    • console port desired

    • a lan bypass in case power fails

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    –jason



  • That last one is going to break the budget.



  • @Jason:

    That last one is going to break the budget.

    Yeah, I kind of thought that might be the case.  Well, that is a pie in the sky thing.  What do you recommend without that one?

    –jason



  • The NetGear M4100-series would probably meet your needs at a reasonable price.  You can drop the point of entry considerably if you give up the console as well and stick to a web-managed switch.



  • @Jason:

    The NetGear M4100-series would probably meet your needs at a reasonable price.  You can drop the point of entry considerably if you give up the console as well and stick to a web-managed switch.

    If he wants uptime, I would recommend he stay far, far away from Netgear. They have a tendency to either lock you completely out of the web interface, or just plain stop passing traffic. They also have pretty small buffers, and in my experience, Netgears don't pass traffic at even close to a gig, even with tuning.
    I'm personally a big fan of Brocade. Their kit is pretty reasonable in terms of price, and it's very, very reliable. We're running ICX6430-48s as our access switches and 6610-24 as our core. I get between 830-980 Mb/s without configuring jumbo frames. That's the performance you should be looking for in a gigabit switch. An ICX 6430-C12 may fit the bill for you, but you haven't really given a price point you're looking at, so it's hard to say. Do note that if you buy Brocade from one of their authorized resellers, you get 3 years support included, and lifetime NBD replacement (but make sure you double check with your reseller on that - that was the case for me through CDW, and I believe that's Brocade's policy for the ICX series). As for Cisco, their price is indeed at a premium, but their gear is time-tested and proven to be reliable and fast. If you opt for Smartnet, they also usually have great techs and great support resources. Everyone wants to go cheaper, but in the end it almost always ends up costing more in labor tracking down weird bugs that shouldn't be happening, or RMAing gear that's completely broken. My current network was all Netgear when I started out here, and my first year was comprised of tracking down all the problems, and fighting with Netgear, explaining that "no, it's not our network. The switch that replaced this one is not exhibiting the same behavior," followed by them telling me to factory reset my core switch. Seriously, stay away from Netgear if you value your time at all.

    Edit: also, OP, what do you mean by a LAN bypass if the power fails?



  • @timthetortoise:

    @Jason:

    The NetGear M4100-series would probably meet your needs at a reasonable price.  You can drop the point of entry considerably if you give up the console as well and stick to a web-managed switch.

    If he wants uptime, I would recommend he stay far, far away from Netgear.
    <snip>Seriously, stay away from Netgear if you value your time at all.</snip>

    This is blown way out of proportion.  From your comment on the web interfaces, it sounds like you've been using "Smart" switches like the GS-series.  You must also be talking about the older ones because I've had no issues with reliability (that would be the GSxxxE versions) or performance as I've been pushing multiple gigabit/s traffic through my GS110TP and GS108T switches at home on a regular basis for the past year or so with no issues.  Those are fine for Home or SOHO networks but I wouldn't use them as the primary switching fabric for any reasonably-sized business, nor should you since they're less than $100 each.  I've got a few at work but they're used for things like the backup cluster network for VMs in the event I lose both my Cisco Nexus switches or for "oops, we need another network drop here right now."

    The M-series are completely different from their other offerings and are actually pretty nice switches.

    OP,

    It boils down to this.  If you're looking for a high level of uptime and someone to blame when you don't get it (because short of a chassis switch with multiple supervisors, no switch is going to give you the uptime it sound like you want) then buy Cisco.  If not, the switch I mentioned is fine.  You're looking for a middle ground that simply doesn't exist.



  • not sure if they are available in your country but check  Zyxel  GS 2200 or GS 1900 series.

    the 2200 are around $400 ish , the 1900 are around $200 | both should qualify for your needs and are good for that price



  • @Jason:

    @timthetortoise:

    @Jason:

    The NetGear M4100-series would probably meet your needs at a reasonable price.  You can drop the point of entry considerably if you give up the console as well and stick to a web-managed switch.

    If he wants uptime, I would recommend he stay far, far away from Netgear.
    <snip>Seriously, stay away from Netgear if you value your time at all.</snip>

    This is blown way out of proportion.  From your comment on the web interfaces, it sounds like you've been using "Smart" switches like the GS-series.

    They were using a mix of FS, GS, GSM, and M series. All of them had problems, no exceptions, even the switches from 2012 with the latest firmware. Around 1,000 nodes spanning over ~30 switches and a GSM7328FS core, it was just constant hardware issues (fan failures, flash failures, port failures), firmware issues (management interface just plain not accepting traffic, web interface completely locking out or throwing javascript errors brand new out of the box), or speed issues (getting 5 Mb/s from a brand new gigabit switch seems reasonable, right? And the temporary 2950 that replaced it got full 100 Mb/s from the same file on the same server in the same configuration). I'll stick by what I said: stay away from Netgear.



  • @timthetortoise:

    @Jason:

    @timthetortoise:

    @Jason:

    The NetGear M4100-series would probably meet your needs at a reasonable price.  You can drop the point of entry considerably if you give up the console as well and stick to a web-managed switch.

    If he wants uptime, I would recommend he stay far, far away from Netgear.
    <snip>Seriously, stay away from Netgear if you value your time at all.</snip>

    This is blown way out of proportion.  From your comment on the web interfaces, it sounds like you've been using "Smart" switches like the GS-series.

    They were using a mix of FS, GS, GSM, and M series. All of them had problems, no exceptions, even the switches from 2012 with the latest firmware. Around 1,000 nodes spanning over ~30 switches and a GSM7328FS core, it was just constant hardware issues (fan failures, flash failures, port failures), firmware issues (management interface just plain not accepting traffic, web interface completely locking out or throwing javascript errors brand new out of the box), or speed issues (getting 5 Mb/s from a brand new gigabit switch seems reasonable, right? And the temporary 2950 that replaced it got full 100 Mb/s from the same file on the same server in the same configuration). I'll stick by what I said: stay away from Netgear.

    Interesting.  I've not had that experience.



  • Have you looked at HP? I like HP because they have good gear and the command line is very similar to Cisco so it's not hard to learn at all, you will probably pick it up quickly. I know you said that you don't have Cisco experience but there are tons of videos on the internet that can help. HP ProCurve 2910al-24G for around $1400 isn't bad, HP gear comes with a lifetime warrenty too.



  • Wow, it's really good to hear all of the input.  One of my pet peaves with many of the products out there is no one really addresses the questions of "why would I want to use your product?", or more importantly: "what do you do that's better than the other guy", or even the most important ones like "why do I care?"

    I have a couple of procurves.  I can't remember the model number, but I recall I couldn't assign ports to vlans without using the comandline menu interface: the web interface would not do it.  Once past that though, they work pretty well.

    I do need to run down some of those other models, but Please keep it coming!

    –jason



  • I'm pretty sure you can do that in the gui, but I cant remember I always do it from the command line. I can show you how if the gui is a issue. Im almost 99% sure the gui isnt a issue for simple things like that.



  • Confirmed you can configure VLANs from the Web GUI. I have a Procurve 2810-24G. I got mine of of ebay for $200 not sure if you are in the used market just wanted to provide a helpful data point.



  • Since we're all over the place on this, could you give us some idea of your intended use, availability requirements, and budget?



  • You are right Jason: I should have listed those too.

    I am serving websites at a colo facility.  We host about 80 websites but are considering doing it legitimately, and larger-scale.  At the moment it's a single pfsense firewall, a network switch, and some apache servers.

    I am aiming at a 99.9% uptime, but not sure what my budget is (it's kind of adhoc: I am moving us away from that).  I wish to go to a high availability network (carp firewalls, two switches…).  I expect the switch(s) to handle a couple of vlans, and let (r)stp handle issues where a switch goes down.  If necessary, it would be nice if the stp on the switch handle stp to/from pfsense.

    I could probably be fine using fast ethernet, but I may need to move data between servers, so gigabit is desired.

    I guess the biggest thing here is to have a switch that is good enough but not painful to use.

    I have been looking around.  I looked at both hp and cisco.

    the cisco SG200 series appears to be a nice combination of price/functionality/reputation
    the hp 1810-24g also looks good.

    Thanks!

    --jason



  • 99.9% is almost 9 hours of downtime per year.  That's a lot.

    The SG200-series is pretty far from your original requirements.  They're just rebadged parts from the a Linksys acquisition.



  • Oh, does that mean a web interface and crappy network performance?

    When you say "that's a lot" do you mean "that's a lot of down time" or "that's a lot of uptime"?  :)

    I certainly haven't chosen the cisco.  In fact the cisco, netgear, and HP prices seem to be comparable.  Mostly I am putting together some estimates for my boss.

    I already have a netgear GS716T in place.  I suppose I could just get another one.

    –jason


  • Netgate

    Brocade ICX 6430



  • @jason0:

    Oh, does that mean a web interface and crappy network performance?

    When you say "that's a lot" do you mean "that's a lot of down time" or "that's a lot of uptime"?  :)

    I certainly haven't chosen the cisco.  In fact the cisco, netgear, and HP prices seem to be comparable.  Mostly I am putting together some estimates for my boss.

    I already have a netgear GS716T in place.  I suppose I could just get another one.

    –jason

    9 hours annually for network downtime is a lot.  Most providers I've worked with guarantee 99.99% network uptime, if not 99.999% or even 100%. It's just not that hard to build a redundant core network.



  • Have you looked at Dell PowerConnect?  Can get 24-port, Gb, layer 3 switches for under $2k.
    Have older 6224 running on SAN duty for over two years with no problems.

    http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/powerconnect-6200-series/pd?refid=powerconnect-6200-series&baynote_bnrank=0&baynote_irrank=0&~ck=baynoteSearch&isredir=true

    Vince