Ethernet switches 2016

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I never thought I would see the day when 1gb Ethernet would be slow. But moving around 160GB training data sets isn’t fun.
So looks like it’s time to look at 1000baseT networking. Also we have quite a few Poe devices now and our old linksys sge2000 literally started crashing so time for a new switch set. Here are the considerations:

  1. I’ve been running at home an over provisioned netgear 48 port 1gb Poe switch and it has been great. It was expensive seven years ago at $1000 or so but definitely reliable. It’s worked well with link aggregation too.
  2. We have been using unmanaged d-link 24 ports, 8 port d-link and 8- Port net gear Poe abs these have been fine.
  3. Cisco bought linksys and they gave a small business line.
  4. There are not a huge number of reviews of this stuff.
  5. The product lines are huge and confusing with Netgear for instance having 8+ models of 48 port
  6. Stacking and SFp are inter switch communication schemes but not super relevant.
  7. Cat 6a works to 500 MHz and up to 100m at 10Gb although power consumption is high.
  8. Poe has been extended to Poe+ with up to 25 watts over the wire.
  9. 10Gbps adapters are about $2-300 and need typically 4x of pci lanes. And switches are $100 a port vs $20 for managed 1gb or $5-10 for Unmanaged.
  10. We just had reliability problems and lost two switches. I’m again reminded that the network is one thing that you don’t want to have unreliable. So that’s a key thing.

So here are recommendations:

Main SMB switch

There are so many different switches the main features are a) managed, b) link aggregation, c) POE. Netgear and Cisco seem like the two reasonable vendors with for me a hat tip to staying in the mid range of Cisco. The 48 port POE seems like a sweet spot in terms of density and cost is not too high to have two of them. In our shop, we could also get away with a pair of 24 ports, but 48 ports is very convenient and dense.

  • Cisco. They have a host of similar models, but the $650 SG200-P has 24 ports with POE and24 ports of non POE so the SG-200FP is more convenient with all ports POE and also POE+ but it is $900 (aka SLM2048-PTNAM). Naming-wise, Cisco Small Business is really Linksys vs the real Cisco enterprise gear. The SG models are all old Linksys. The SG-200 is fanless and level 2 only while SG-300 can be level 3. They also have SG-300 and SG-500 lines as well. I don’t think we will ever to large enough to need a level 3 switch (eg router between different LAN segments 🙂 Or need stacked switches with LAG groups for failover, but that is pretty cool stuff! It is stackable
  • Netgear makes my head spin, they have Fully Managed, Smart Managed and Web Managed huh? Web managed are the smaller switches with a web interface and no POE. The Smart Managed has a few subfamilies so there are non stackable the GS748Tv5 which is no POE and the GS752TP which has POE+. Then the stackable and that corresponds to the GS752TSB and GS752TPSB so this means S for stackable and P for POE and there is -100NAS which indicates for north america. Finally B means revision B (not compatible with the earlier non-B models so you can’t stack them). Finally there is 10Gbps uplink models called the GS752TXS but doesn’t have POE.

After looking at all of this, the two models that make the most sense on the short list are so now let’s look at reliability and here is the data in order of best reviews and most quantity. So the hard part here is that there isn’t much user data except that the very inexpensive Netgear GS752TP is probably not super reliable. Sigh.

  • Cisco SG-200-P. $614 but only half the ports are POE. Main thing is that the Amazon reviews are pretty incredible but it is hard to say because most are reviews of other products with fewer ports. Newegg ($650) is 3/5 with the big complaints being the 24/24 split and there was one DOA. Not too many reviews.
  • Netgear GS752TP. $670 POE+, stackable and cheap. But Newegg reviews are 3/5 (only 11 reviews though) but complaints about web user interface bugginess and not working on a Mac plus power and hardware failures. On Amazon, it is 4.5/5 but Amazon aggregates everything together so hard to tell for just this switch. Main complaints are DOA units, bad POE, poor customer support. It theoretically has a lifetime warranty, but good luck getting that honored. It has 4 uplink 1Gb SFP ports but isn’t stackable so you can’t make fault tolerant.
  • Netgear GS752TPSB. $880 POE+ and stackable. Only two Newegg reviews, but no problems. Seven Amazon reviews which isn’t a lot. But at least no big problems except that it isn’t compatible with its older the GS752TPS it replaced.
  • Cisco SG-200-FP. $900 and all the ports are POE but only one review across Amazon and Newegg 🙁

It also turns out we have a GS516TP running POE and a GS748TP (the four year old sister of the GS752TP) that has been running everything else. I didn’t even realize it. And I won’t tell you the last time I upgraded the firmware (otoh our problems with the Linksys SGE2000 and SGE2000p seemed to start with the firmware upgrade).

10Gbps Ethernet

This is a toe dip as they are expensive. Netgear has a non-link aggregation model at $100 a port so not a bad place to start. Aggregating multiple links doesn’t see likely needed anytime soon.

  1. Netgear 8 port 10Gbps hub. Again Netgear seems to be the leader with a $800 8 port.The main limitation is not stackable, POE nor does it have LACP.
  2. Startech 10Gbps nic. Either get board with 10Gbps as the $600 ASUS has or get a $240 Startech adapter.

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