Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

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Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:31 pm

Saturday morning dumb question.

I'm looking at those Cisco "Small Business" unmanaged switches and noticed that they are in general more expensive than those D-Link's or Netgear's of similar grade (and the difference is only bigger if you dip into the other guys' consumer line). Since they are unmanaged, there is literally no firmware features for differentiation. So what is there to justify their price premiums?

Would I be equally happy just to get the cheaper ones, may be one more for standby in case it breaks? The cheaper ones are getting so cheap that they are almost disposable.
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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:54 pm

One feature that can still differentiate unmanged switches is the total available bandwidth. Some cheaper switches can't handle all ports blasting away simultaneously at full speed, and can potentially become a performance bottleneck in high traffic environments. In general, this isn't going to be an issue unless the switch is installed in a datacenter; but it is something to consider, depending on your use case.
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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:17 pm

just brew it! wrote:One feature that can still differentiate unmanged switches is the total available bandwidth. Some cheaper switches can't handle all ports blasting away simultaneously at full speed, and can potentially become a performance bottleneck in high traffic environments. In general, this isn't going to be an issue unless the switch is installed in a datacenter; but it is something to consider, depending on your use case.


In years past I used to see sites that reviewed stuff like switches and tested them for this kind of thing exactly. Does anyone still do this?
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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:46 pm

TwistedKestrel wrote:In years past I used to see sites that reviewed stuff like switches and tested them for this kind of thing exactly. Does anyone still do this?

If SmallNetBuilder no longer does, then it's probably a lost cause.

I've never had a burp or BW constriction from the cheap TrendNet 8 port GigE swtiches I've used & installed.

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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:18 pm

I think the Cisco Small Business switches are just Linksys with a Cisco logo on them. Doesn't mean they're any worse, but doesn't guarantee they will be better than any other brand. I do like managed switches, but the few unmanaged switches we run in our network are HP 1410's.

To be totally superficial, I would suggest getting a switch with decent indicator lights. I didn't care too much for 3Com's LED's far away from the port, it just takes too damn long to figure out what port is doing what. I'm old and have bad eyes, get off my lawn.
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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:49 pm

I'm red-green colour blind and used to work at Cisco. I had quite the argument with the hardware team on our project about why tri-colour LEDs suck for port status whilst they just looked at me as if I had a toaster on my head. :cry:

I wouldn't bother with going anything fancier than a D-Link, Netgear or similar GigE switch. My day job has been writing networking software for almost 20 years and it's good enough for me.
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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:54 pm

notfred wrote:I'm red-green colour blind and used to work at Cisco. I had quite the argument with the hardware team on our project about why tri-colour LEDs suck for port status whilst they just looked at me as if I had a toaster on my head. :cry:

I have the exact same issue! I do not understand why the tech industry is so insistent on using a color coding scheme which is effectively invisible to about 5% of the population. At least with traffic signals, the shade of green that is typically used has enough blue in it to make it possible for people with red/green color blindness (the most common kind) to tell red from green; I assume this is by design.
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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:46 am

The hardware teams love tri-colour LEDs because they are a single component. It's cheaper, easier to fit on the board and fewer holes to cut in the enclosure.

I once blew through a red light at night because I mistook it for another of the sodium vapour street lights that were on that stretch of road and I hadn't noticed the junction. I find the green lights very similar to the mercury vapour street lights. During the day it is easy to see the surround and pick up that it is a traffic light. I'm seeing more lights around here get the outer border done in reflective tape like the UK ones to help make it easier to pick them out at night.
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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:54 am

Blue LEDs are getting cheaper. A tri-color with blue being one of the colors would be a lot better for colorblind users.
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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:20 am

Cool, I have a friend who is also red-green color blind. He's from Ukraine, extremely talented, but because of his eyes he won't eat anything green. The logic being, why eat anything that looks brown? :)

For LED's on switches, truly handy to have HP's implementation on ProCurves (not the 3Com rebrands). They normally show activity, then cycle through with a little button to show link status, duplex, and speed, but it's all in green LED. Blue LED would be excellent, but after several years of blinking away, they might get a bit dim even with the eye-searing brightness of them. 3Com have this tri-color LED that is yellow, green, and some sort of orange, I believe. To figure out what's what, you look at the bank of LED's, match the port number, then look at the lower bank of orange LED to see link speed, if lit. At least on the V1910 we're upgrading to, it seems to only light orange on gigabit links. I dunno.

Anyway, back to eyes, going into a poorly lit cable closet it takes a long time for my eyes to adjust. I think I'll have to bite the bullet and get some reading glasses. Oh the vanity!
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Re: Cisco Small Business unmanaged switches - worth it?

Postposted on Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:27 am

drsauced wrote:Blue LED would be excellent, but after several years of blinking away, they might get a bit dim even with the eye-searing brightness of them.

Given their intrinsic brightness, you ought to be able to run them at a small fraction of their rated maximum current. This should extend their life significantly.
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