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What are the best full gigabit smart switches?

By jasonl ·
I am looking to upgrade my companies smart switches so the entire backbone will eventually be fully gigabit. As of right now I have 4 smart switches (all Netgear) and only one is fully gigabit, which is the Netgear GS724T. I would like some opinions on what type of smart switch is preferred over others before making a purchase decision. Would it be best to stick with the Netgear GS724T and replace my other 3 10/100 switches with that one so all the switches would be the same? Or would going to an entirely different brand be a better option, perhaps Cisco? I have only really dealt with Netgear smart switches so I don't have much feedback on other brands. Any information on this topic would be great!

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Nobody ever got fired for buying Cisco

by robo_dev In reply to What are the best full gi ...

Cisco stuff is costly, but extremely reliable, very manageable, and has features built in that you did not even know you needed.

No, I don't work for Cisco.

Over the years I have worked with switches from Extreme Networks, HP, Cisco, 3COM, IBM, as well as Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, etc. I've also worked with Cisco wireless and telephony products, plus their routers (which, coincidentally, all play well with their switches).

Cisco also makes all sorts of software to manage/configure their stuff (CiscoWorks, Cisco Configuration Assistant, Cisco Switch Manager, etc. CSM is free.

While it's basically true that 'any switch will work', I've never seen an issue with high failure rates, flaky or unreliable firmware/software, or lack of standards compliance. Plus if you need support or service, Cisco does a good job.

The only area where Cisco may not win every battle is at the very core of the network, where some of the players like Extreme or Juniper may offer more raw throughput or scalability for a certain price point.

While it's true that you can probably get a fast and reliable switch from somebody like HP, Extreme, Juniper, and many others including Netgear, you need to look very closely at what your future needs are and what the expectations there are around uptime and performance.

I am not anti-Netgear, but keep in mind that a good chunk of the extra cost of Cisco is their service and support capabilities.

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Reponse To Answer

by IcebergTitanic In reply to Nobody ever got fired for ...

I second the Cisco gear, but price is definitely a consideration. When you're used to seeing maybe a couple hundred for your gigabit switch, bumping up into thousands of dollars per switch can really sting. However, there's nothing that compares when it comes to a reliable, powerful, enterprise network. I regularly work with Cisco 3500 and 2900 series switches that have been running constantly with no service for over a decade.

If you're a bit more constrained in your budgets, you might want to look at Cisco's Small Business and Small Business Pro line. They're pretty good too, and a lot more cost effective.

I also do not work for Cisco, though I do hold a CCNA.

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And not to sound like a Cisco sales rep, but....

by robo_dev In reply to What are the best full gi ...

the fact that lots of IT people get 'cisco certified' means that it's more likely that a network support guy/gal you hire is already familiar with the equipment you have.

Not that it's rocket-science to support a switch, but it is an added benefit that lots of support people are trained on this stuff.

I admit that I 'started' to study for CCNA, CCDA certifications a few years ago, but procrastination got the better of me.

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Mixing a Netgear with new Cisco's

by jasonl In reply to What are the best full gi ...

Thanks a lot for all your feedback! After reading the replies I am leaning towards going with the Cisco Small Business 200 Series Smart Switches. Another question, I currently have one Netgear gigabit switch that I would still like to utilize since it has been running fine. Would it be a mistake to leave that Netgear smart switch in place with the new Cisco's? Basically I am curious if mixing brands would be bad practice or would it even matter?

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96 ports +/-

by mturso In reply to What are the best full gi ...

Get the lower end Cisco stuff. Built in support via google search is not to be underestimated. Go ahead and google search a ProCurve problem...hah, good luck with that.

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Standards are nice

by IcebergTitanic In reply to What are the best full gi ...

Most of the modern networking equipment is going to support several standards, usually defined in IETF 802.1. Cisco gear seems to be where a lot of these standards start out in one form or another, then they get adopted and modified by the RFC process before they become standards. Once they're standardized, Cisco usually will implement them.

So, in other words, a modern Netgear switch should "talk" just fine with a Cisco switch in most cases. I haven't reviewed the specs, but I would assume any decent managed switch would support standards such as 802.1Q (VLANS), so it should be fine. The only thing about the Small Business series switches is that they're all web-based gui config. I hate gui's on my networking equipment, Personally...

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