2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

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2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:11 pm

I've got a network that has a failing 24 port Cisco (unmanaged) gigabit switch. This particular office has 14 workstations and soon just 1 server (AD, DHCP, DNS) and a good number of network printers. The issue is that they recently had some new ports ran all over the office by the electricians (who screwed up the wiring on the Cat5e, go figure). So they now have about 4 wall jacks that aren't event hooked into the switch so they are dark. I wanted to bring these ports live for when someone hooks a laptop up for conference, and replace the failing Cisco. Unfortunately I'm in that nasty point where buying a 24 port replacement wont do the trick for ports, and a 48 is almost overkill but also costs a lot more and the only decent ones available are managed.

This particular office doesn't seem like it would really benefit from a managed switch, unless I'm not taking into consideration certain things. There are no VOIP phones, separate subnets, or anything like that. They simply access Quickbooks files via the file server and work out of them over the network. The only other thing I've got running on the server is a simple OpenFire server for interoffice chat/file transfer (rarely file swapping). I don't really see the benefit of a 48 port switch that's managed and there aren't any quality unmanaged switches. I recently installed a Cisco ASA 5505 and configured it with a simple Inside/Outside (no additional Vlans).

What I perceive to be the best options are....

A) Purchase 2 x 24 port unmanaged switches and run one off of the other. If needed to separate things out, I can always use the ASA to "Manage" them and simply hook the 24 port switches to the ASA.

B) Purchase 1 x 48 port unmanaged switch (crappy quality from what I've seen), and pay the extra cash, 200-300 bucks more than 2 x 24.

C) Purchase 1 x 48 port managed switch, very expensive in comparison. I'd be running this in the most opened manner and wasting the features that were paid for, but retain the ability to down the road manage the network via the switch if need be.

This office is not likely to "expand" as they are fairly cramped in their office and already expanded out the office last summer by buying space from the renters next door. They decided to make this their long term home, one or two more systems at max being added. However, I can see the addition of other devices like more networked printers. They already have a new phone system in that allows them to manage it via a web interface, so I don't see VOIP going in anytime soon either.

Found this 24 port unmanaged switch. I'm not in the habit of purchasing junk hardware, but with the glowing reviews, its a bit hard to ignore this switch.
http://www.neweggbusiness.com/Product/P ... 6833704065

Any takes on TP-Link, I've used some of there stuff against my will and they seem like another Trendnet, a no frills networking company. It does come with a 5 year warranty... which means nothing if the company won't back that warranty though. For $100 bucks that seems to be a very affordable way to get into some 24 port gigabit switches. The Cisco equivalent runs $375, one hell of a difference there.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:42 pm

I'd go with option A. Make sure your heaviest users are on the same switch as the file server; put the printers, guest ports, and any lower-bandwidth devices (e.g. WiFi access point, broadband router) on the other one so that the 1 Gb link to the rest of the network doesn't become a bottleneck.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:52 am

Glad that my original plan seems to make sense to you JBI. Any insight into TP-Link as far as quality? Ive hooked up a few 24 port D-Link switches before that seem to be doing alright, but its not been more than 2 years. Id expect nothing less than 7-8 years for networking equipment. Should at least work for the life span of a servers life.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:13 am

All I'd say is if you go the cheap route, you probably ought to keep a spare around. You get what you pay for. I can't imagine TP-Link is anything special; cheap switch is cheap switch.

A switch that supports SNMP would be good if you were ever to implement monitoring, though you'd want to get something good like an HP V1910. My company sold a few netgears some years ago, and regrets it.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:06 am

My only concern with linking two switches is that the bottleneck exists when multiple clients on switch A are talking to multiple clients on switch B.
You normally skirt that issue by using dedicated stack interlinks which run at ridiculous speeds compared to the switch themselves - just using a normal gigabit port is going to hurt bandwidth immensely on a busy network.

Obviously stackable switches are way outside of the price range being discussed here, but that means that if you are expecting bandwidth to be an issue, option B has more merit.
I know it'll cost more, but rather than looking at TP-Link (which is fine for consumer-level stuff, but you get what you pay for) move up to at least HP or Netgear. HP V1810-48G would be the first suggestion that makes sense, IMO.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:21 am

Welch wrote:Glad that my original plan seems to make sense to you JBI. Any insight into TP-Link as far as quality? Ive hooked up a few 24 port D-Link switches before that seem to be doing alright, but its not been more than 2 years. Id expect nothing less than 7-8 years for networking equipment. Should at least work for the life span of a servers life.

I have no idea what TP-Link's quality is like. We use a lot of unmanaged D-Link switches where I work and we've been quite happy with them.

Chrispy_ wrote:My only concern with linking two switches is that the bottleneck exists when multiple clients on switch A are talking to multiple clients on switch B.

Hence my recommendation to segregate the guest ports and lower bandwidth devices like printers onto one switch, with everything else (including the file server) on the other one. Yes, there's theoretically a choke point in the network; but I doubt anyone will ever notice in practice.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:59 am

just brew it! wrote:Hence my recommendation to segregate the guest ports and lower bandwidth devices like printers onto one switch, with everything else (including the file server) on the other one. Yes, there's theoretically a choke point in the network; but I doubt anyone will ever notice in practice.


I've done that before too, and it's a decent solution. Sometimes we'll put in a new switch with not quite enough capacity for a smaller client, and throw things like printers on an older-but-okay switch. Speed doesn't matter too much with devices like printers, either, so it can be a slower (10/100) one.

Just to be clear again, all $100 switches are going to be very similar in quality and you're really just going to be wasting time trying to find a 'good' one. Just keep a spare for if/when they break.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:31 am

For rack mount stuff I'd steer clear of super cheap stuff like TP-Link or Teneda (I had 5 24 port Teneda switches fail, various different models too so it wasn't just a bad batch). Pay the extra for a brand name like dlink or netgear.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:32 pm

Have you considered a third option - a 24-port and a 16-port? Note that you can also get ones with dedicated ports that will let you link them to avoid bottlenecks.

As for managed/unmanaged, the real reason to get a managed switch is either for configuring VLANs, or QoS. If you aren't doing either of those, then IMO, you probably don't need a managed switch. If you're looking to do VoIP phones at some point, that's where your VLANs and QoS may come in handy.

Either way, Netgear is my go-to for decent basic small business switching; I've had good luck with them. Finally, maybe you don't need full-gig switches; if you can save by getting 100TX switches with gig uplink ports, that may be another way to go.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:30 pm

Gigabit is so inexpensive it would be horrible to put in a 10/100 as one of the main switches. I have 2 smaller 10/100 switches in that office that serve as a hub for maybe 2 printers. Just as was said, printers most likely will never benefit from a gigabit network interface in the first place.

As for HP, ive dealt with some of their 24 and 48 port managed switches and they are crap. They are actually identical to a 3com switch we have in this other network. Out of 4 of those HP switches, 3 of them are running way over max operating temp. Confirmed they have all of the airflow in the world and the room has a badass VW sized brand new air conditioner. I refuse to use HP switches. I wish they were nake quality stuff like they used to for servers and networking. As for netgear their stuff went down the drain too and they get an F on the BBB. D-Link stepped it up and their unmanaged switches are decent so far from what ive seen.

Ya i could do a 16video port off of the 24, but the price difference is about 40 bucks. If both switches connect directly to the same vlan on the ASA, theb there shouldnt be any issues with bandwidth between the two unmanaged switches. I dont need to daisy them off of each other.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:35 pm

Netgear definitely went through a rough patch a few years back. Most of the Netgear switches we had at the office which were purchased in the 2006-2007 timeframe eventually started locking up at random. Post-mortems on the bad switches revealed that they all had blown caps in them.
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Re: 2 x 24 Switch or 1 x 48. Managed or Unmanaged

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:56 pm

LoneWolf15 wrote:Have you considered a third option - a 24-port and a 16-port? Note that you can also get ones with dedicated ports that will let you link them to avoid bottlenecks.

How about a fourth option; Purchase 2 x 24 port switches, (1) managed & (1) unmanaged. Keep your options open with extra ports, entire spare switch if ones happens to die, VLans, etc....just saying that seems like another compromise.
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