Business Class Network Equipment

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Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:15 pm

Well I've just about had it with Linksys. It seems like every time we put one in place, 2 years or so down the road it ends up resetting itself at random intervals and/or losing settings all together. These latest ones were the Linksys/Cisco branded Business class Security Routers with VPN support. Utter crap~!

So, its time to adopt a new, much more reliable brand. For those of you who manage networks for small business to larger corporate clients, what do you use? Speaking on my Home front, I finally **** canned the Linksys we had and got a DLink DIR-655 and have loved it, QOS out of box is noticeable as all heck. I'd suggest DLink for our future clients but at the same time have zero experience with their Business/Enterprise class hardware. Anyone have an opinion on them?

Some of the smaller offices we service are dental offices with only a handful of computers, typically 6-10. A few others that we take care of easily have 70-100 computers and rely on their networks (especially their VPN) to communicate across state with their other office for updates on their aircraft's whereabouts and things like that, so reliability is KEY.
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Re: Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:30 pm

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Re: Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:43 pm

2008 is pretty old. Take that table with a grain of salt, especially since there's no explanation of why they ranked them the way they did.

Meh, our networking guys use Serious Cisco Kit. Mainly managed switches running IOS and equipped with a UPS, though that may be higher-end than you're wanting.
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Re: Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:03 pm

I can vouch for my personal situation (2 desktops, 3 laptops, 2 net enabled smartphones, 1 voip phone, 2 ps3's, and about 2-4 additional connections when friends are over).

Billion seem quite good (5100, 5200g and the 7800) have all performed reliably.
Dynalink is currently taking care of downstairs (RTA1046G), bridged to the billion. All is well with this also.

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Re: Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:28 pm

My little SMC router died after 8 years in use, can't say what their enterprise class stuff is like.
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Re: Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:45 pm

We seem to have bad luck with Cisco gear, so I tend to stay away.

Our switches are all 5-6 year old 3Com 48-port GigE stackable switches (I think we have 12-15 of them) and we haven't had any major problems (I think we have 2 bad ports on one of the switches). 2 of them were DOA, but once replaced we've been good. No fan failures yet.

3Com was purchased by HP, so we're looking into replacing all of our switches with some chassis/modular kit from HP. Lifetime warranty, good pricing (especially compared to Cisco) and good reputation (I didn't know this until a few months ago, but apparently HP is the second largest networking equipment provider behind Cisco).

I will say that we have not had any issues with the fanless DC version of the Cisco switch that our ISP installed in our building on their fiber ring; it's been fine for ~5 years. But if we *buy* something Cisco, it seems to fail within 3 years. And they never outright *fail* -- they just cause weird problems but produce no errors. I'd rather just have it die so I know it's broken.
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Re: Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:54 pm

Welch wrote:Well I've just about had it with Linksys. It seems like every time we put one in place, 2 years or so down the road it ends up resetting itself at random intervals and/or losing settings all together. These latest ones were the Linksys/Cisco branded Business class Security Routers with VPN support. Utter crap~!

So, its time to adopt a new, much more reliable brand. For those of you who manage networks for small business to larger corporate clients, what do you use? Speaking on my Home front, I finally **** canned the Linksys we had and got a DLink DIR-655 and have loved it, QOS out of box is noticeable as all heck. I'd suggest DLink for our future clients but at the same time have zero experience with their Business/Enterprise class hardware. Anyone have an opinion on them?

Some of the smaller offices we service are dental offices with only a handful of computers, typically 6-10. A few others that we take care of easily have 70-100 computers and rely on their networks (especially their VPN) to communicate across state with their other office for updates on their aircraft's whereabouts and things like that, so reliability is KEY.


I have never had problems with Linksys routers, although I have not purchased any since around the time Cisco purchased Linksys. After that, the new routers were modified to cripple third party firmware and I was happy with my old router. Then in recent years, they made new designs, but I guess the quality is not as good as the original Linksys hardware was before Cisco purchased them. There is no router that gives you everything, but if you are willing to forgo dual-band support, the following router from Asus is the best you can get for under $100:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6833320038

The router has 128MB of RAM, so even if you are willing to spent $200, you are unlikely to find a router with that amount of RAM. The 32MB of flash it provides is also extremely generous and it is almost as rare to find a router with that much flash, even at a $200 level. Getting something significant better than that would require building your own router with parts intended for desktop computers, which is possible, especially if you have an old system. An old motherboard from recent years, any processor that can go into it, a miniscule amount of RAM, a USB key and a few network interface cards could likely mop the floor with any wireless router available on the market today. If you want to go that route, here are some suggestions for network interface cards.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6833122133 - Wired Ethernet for PCI slots
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6833106033 - Wired Ethernet for PCI Express slots
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6833127219 - Wireless Ethernet for PCI slots
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6833320048 - Wireless Ethernet for PCI Express slots

Unfortunately, the 32-bit PCI bus only has enough bandwidth for a maximum symmetric transfer rate of 1064 Mbps across all available PCI slots, so even though you can use multiple gigabit network PCI cards in a single system, you cannot transfer more than 2 gigabits per second through a system using such cards, so while it is difficult to find a motherboard that has all PCI Express slots, I know that some of the motherboards in recent years have a few PCI Express slots and a bunch of PCI slots, so it would probably be best to go with one Realtek gigabit Ethernet PCI card and a bunch of Intel gigabit Ethernet PCI Express cards. It would also probably be best to go with Asus's wireless Ethernet PCI Express card, because the PCI-Express Asus option is based off a chip from Ralink, so it should not support any of the non-standard proprietary garbage that companies like Atheros and Broadcomm introduced into the market, unlike the PCI D-link option I posted above.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/802.11_non ... _equipment

Depending on how much spare hardware you have on hand, you might be able to spend less than you would for ready-made router and get something that performs much better. It would of course be much physically larger, but as I said, it is difficult to find something more powerful than the Asus RT-N16 without spending enough that you could build a router yourself with desktop hardware.
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Re: Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:42 pm

If you want to go true "Business Class," we use Fortinet network appliances in our school district. They are similar to a Sonicwall - all-in-one filtering, AV, spam, firewall, VPN, and lan switch.

They are pretty pricy, but very capable. We've got the Fortigate 100A as our firewall/gateway, and it is filtering spam, AV, and content filtering for ~800 computers on a 20 Mbit fiber connection and it works VERY well. We've only had 1 (out of 8 ) go bad in 5 years, and it was in a VERY hot cabinet.
Last edited by highlandr on Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:56 pm

This isn't "business class", but I've used a bunch of Netgear WiFi access points and switches in my home network over the last fifteen years or so, and I haven't had a single problem with any of them.
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Re: Business Class Network Equipment

Postposted on Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:30 pm

What do we use? - Cisco and some Junipers depending on the customer. My main customer has Cisco gear for what.. somewhere around $10-12 Millions or so, and of course, a PoE module here, a broken PSU there, etc, is just stuff one has to deal with when you count nodes in hundreds rather then tens. Another customers uses a few hundred Juniper SSG-5 and a bunch of higher end central points. The cisco gears is usually very reliable as long as its pure cisco gear. Same goes for Juniper. Sure, everything can have problems, but except for a few quite obscure bugs, the stuff branded only cisco usually works well. A couple of techs managed to restart a router the other on accident, which was sad, it was 10 days before 9 years of uptime. :P

Also heard alot of good things of the latest "small" fortigate firewalls and their performance with the accelerated ports. Havent tried them myself though. And yeah, dont buy linksys branded stuff, and not all of the HP stuff is fine. HP stuff is often sourced from another party, i.e. 3Com, now owned by HP... then IIRC Huawei, probably sourced... then a third company that was a joint venture between Huawei and 3com or somesuch. Also, lower end "business class" netgear stuff is ok, except that the smaller switches is very sensitive to brownouts and voltage dips... and while the higher end ones are better, what it comes down to compared to the expensive stuff is often management and tools for that, support contracts and SLA's.
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