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Buyer's Guide
LAN Switching
July 2022
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Ceo & President at TNL
Real User
Top 10
Useful reports, highly reliable, and integrates well
Pros and Cons
  • "We use the VLANs to separate library, office, and individual apartments. With some of the reporting that receive, we're able to take and track down where people like to put in their own wireless routers. Sometimes they will take a DSL modem from AT&T that they brought from home, hook it in backward, and it will give rogue addresses causing issues."
  • "I use the Cisco Catalyst Switches command-line interface(CLI) a lot out in the field, but there are some web interfaces features that are available that I haven't used very much. I'm more comfortable with the CLI, but the web interfaces are very lacking."

What is our primary use case?

I use Cisco Catalyst Switches mostly in apartment complexes. They are apartment buildings, where one apartment has three or four bathroom/bedroom combinations and each resident who lives in those has their own connection to the switch. Additionally, the common areas of the building have a connection to the switch.

I've used Cisco Catalyst Switches in that environment, providing internet to a complex, both fiber and copper. We have taken and put cable TV, converted the satellite signals off of DIRECT TV satellites, and broadcasted all their channels, including local channels in the complex. There are approximately 250 channels through the same switches by converting the output to a network environment by turning them around and sending it back out on the other end for coaxial cable distribution. I've been working a lot in the MDFs and the IDFs of the individual complexes.

What is most valuable?

We use the VLANs to separate library, office, and individual apartments. With some of the reporting that receive, we're able to take and track down where people like to put in their own wireless routers. Sometimes they will take a DSL modem from AT&T that they brought from home, hook it in backward, and it will give rogue addresses causing issues.

It's been pretty easy for us to track down where those rogue addresses are coming from and shut the port down until we can have a technician go out and fix it properly.

There are a lot of features that Cisco Catalyst Switches have. However, they're not always needed.

The security of Cisco Catalyst Switches seems to be sound. It's very good with security. I've had no issues, security-wise. The important this is to know what to do to fix problems if you have a security issue, and it seems to work, whether you're using Cisco Catalyst Switches, Opensense, pfSense firewalls, or any normal firewall issues. Cisco Catalyst Switches are able to communicate to all the other hardware very well.

What needs improvement?

I use the Cisco Catalyst Switches command-line interface(CLI) a lot out in the field, but there are some web interfaces features that are available that I haven't used very much. I'm more comfortable with the CLI, but the web interfaces are very lacking. 

The application controls that you have when you go through the Cisco Catalyst Switches for configuration and to see your whole network could improve. If the interface could display and recognize devices other than the Catalyst that you might have in the network to allow you to build your network. It does not necessarily need to control them, but to see they're there and how they're hooked up would make a big difference when it comes to trying to map and monitor the network activity in the system.

Those are two areas I find in the Cisco Catalyst Switches that are not as robust as some of the newer solutions, such as Aruba. You could see everything's controlled by the web interfaces, but not as much by the CLI. I don't like that Arubas CLIs, but I do like the web interface where you can see everything and control everything without having to load a special application on a computer and/or use the CLI. You can visually see all the information, and I find that's an easier learning curve for people monitoring. I haven't used it very much with the Cisco Meraki's, but a lot of the places we have worked have been with governments, and they use a lot of the Cisco Catalyst line of solutions.

If someone was trying to manage their own office, I would rate the usability of Cisco Catalyst Switches a five out of ten. Unless you know the CLI well then you will use the interface that is a little bit tricky to work with.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Catalyst Switches for approximately 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Most of the stability issues I have found have been hardware-related and not software. I have found that sometimes a port will go dead, and when a port goes dead on the even side, the odd side equivalent goes dead as well. This is where things get a little hot and it caused the solder joint to go loose or something similar happened. That's what my guess would be on the issue, a lot of times they only mark the port as dead and shut it off. When they have many ports that are dead that they don't have any spares they typically switch out the switch altogether.

People do not want to pay for you to resolder a circuit board and check for cold solder joints, I try and speed things up. If I have not had to use many spares on the ports for repair, to keep the repair at a quick pace. I can change a power supply or I can change a board in them quickly. I haven't actually bothered to go through and see if it's a cold solder joint or if it's actually a dead port. I'm having to use my experience with other equipment and knowing that it more times than not, kills both ports on the same connector, it's probably a cold solder joint or something to do with where it's connecting to the motherboard. This would be the first place I would look.

I would rate Cisco Catalyst Switches stability a nine out of ten.

They are highly stable, they have never given me a problem.

How are customer service and support?

I've never had to talk with the Cisco technical support. Usually, if there is a problem I know how the switches are built, I can take them apart and put them together to fix them. For example, in the last Cisco solution I did fix, the power supply was overheating, and it would eventually shut the unit down or it would freeze. I let it cool off and came back when it was cool and took a power supply from one that the mainboard that was frozen, and put it in. It came right back up and it was working at the right temperature.

When it comes to technical support, I've never had to use them. What typically happens is the client calls technical support, technical support turns around dispatches a company that dispatches me and I go out there, fix the issue. I notify that company of their technical support, which may be Cisco's, or not, and inform them of the problem. The technical support double-checks the program and makes sure everything's up and operating.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used other networking solutions previously, such as Aruba.

What other advice do I have?

I have found that the problems with Cisco Catalyst Switches are caused by the end-user putting equipment on it backward and various other similar user errors.  Cisco Catalyst Switches does not have all the features in the web interface. I didn't see the web interface able to be controlled the solution well. You can bring up some information controls, you click a link, and everything's in it is confusing to me, they could improve it. The web application gives you the ability to change some settings, but not necessarily critical ones. There're some things that you have to do at the CLI that their application does not give you the ability to do.

I have VLANs that are set up in my office under a pfSense firewall. The VLANs are set up in the firewall, and it acts as a switch as well. The actual switches turn around and act as a router and then the Cisco Catalyst Switches recognize the VLANs, and process everything accordingly as if it was a Cisco solution. They integrate well will all other hardware.

I rate Cisco Catalyst Switches an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Al Vasek - PeerSpot reviewer
Executive Business Development Manager, Cloud and Managed Services at ConvergeOne
MSP
Top 5Leaderboard
Performs well, but the support and stability could be improved
Pros and Cons
  • "Port density and port speed performance are both suitable. It has some appealing intangibles."
  • "Instead of competing at the enterprise level with that product, they should probably scale it. With all of the ports, they should develop a good mid-level business to truly scale it and gain adoption before attempting to go after the enterprise."

What is most valuable?

Port density and port speed performance are both suitable. It has some appealing intangibles.

We are not comparing it with Linksys, D-Link, or similar products. The engineering behind it isn't bad, it's just that you're limited. I'm not going to sell something to a customer where it's difficult for me to find staff who can program it or train on it. It's a bigger risk than it's worth.

What needs improvement?

There is a lack of support because there is a lack of adoption.

Because Cisco switches are so widely used, anyone in the world can support them. It was two Cisco engineers who released Arista's code. In terms of programming functionality, they essentially duplicated the Cisco iOS, so all Cisco commands work on the Arista commands. You can do an Arista if you can do a Cisco. Aruba isn't all that different. It's a little different, but they have all of HPE's money and stuff behind it and things like that.

I would say the same thing about Extreme or some of the other switches where it's penny-wise, pound-foolish. You save some money if you are a small shop with only one or two guys, it's understandable. Fortinet is now in the switch business, and they have their FortiSwitch devices, which are controlled by the FortiGate firewalls to do all of the programs. There is a lot to choose from. But, in my opinion, a lot of it is dependent on the use case and the customer type. Meraki is a nice little Cisco product for the right kind of business, but I wouldn't use it in an enterprise setting.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have worked with Dell-Force10 Campus LAN Switches in the past, but I am not a huge fan.

It's just like any other switch. Right now, you must consider market share. By far, Cisco has the market share, in my opinion. From a switching standpoint, there are the Arubas and the Aristas. When Dell acquired Force10, they attempted to acquire it, and It does some things, but it hasn't taken off yet. It doesn't have a large enough market share. I wouldn't invest in something that doesn't have a large enough market share to support it. I've met Michael Dell personally, and if they are one, two, or three, they will drop it. It's similar to when they removed SonicWall and other features. To me, there is far too much risk versus reward. Arista would be my first choice if I needed a lower-cost switch than Cisco.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have had it and seen it in a number of data centers. It is not a bad product. It's stable, runs smoothly, and performs well until it doesn't, and then you are stuck. Then you have to wait for someone to become available who knows how to program it, whereas the other ten guys are all Cisco experts. You are in a situation where you can save $5,000, but now you have to reimburse 10 customers for SLA breaches that you had because we can't fix them. This is the dilemma with the product that we are dealing with.

I would have said more about it if it had taken off more and been adopted more widely. Their basic PowerConnect switches are fine for small businesses because there isn't much to worry about, but that's an enterprise-grade switch.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You are selling it to larger customers and in larger environments, where it's a less expensive model than Cisco, which is attempting to use the same approach Arista did, but with a completely different programming language.

What other advice do I have?

I would not recommend it to smaller businesses because they could not afford it.

I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they come up with a small business model for it, which would be interesting to me. Instead of competing at the enterprise level with that product, they should probably scale it. With all of the ports, they should develop a good mid-level business to truly scale it and gain adoption before attempting to go after the enterprise.

It's too difficult to break into the enterprise, which is already heavily invested in those other ones. I mean, Arista did it, but they've recently gained traction. Fortinet is gaining traction, but, as previously stated, it began by establishing credibility in the commercial, mid-market, and enterprise markets. Whereas Dell-Force10 Campus LAN Switches have never attempted anything other than enterprise.

I would rate Dell-Force10 Campus LAN Switches a five out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Operations Director at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 10
Easy to install, good interface, reliable, scalable, and helpful support
Pros and Cons
  • "QoS is the most valuable feature because our clients work with VOIP and Critical applications."
  • "One of the issues that we have been faced with here in Brazil is that we don't have any list times for delivery."

What is our primary use case?

We are resellers.

This solution is used for one of our clients in group services that is a community center here in Brazil.

What is most valuable?

QoS is the most valuable feature because our clients work with VOIP and Critical applications.

The interface is very good.

What needs improvement?

One of the issues that we have been faced with here in Brazil is that we don't have any list times for delivery. I am not aware of this is valid in other regions, or if it is only here in Brazil.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with this solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. Our customers have not reported any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a scalable solution.

Our clients are medium-sized businesses and we have 5,000 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was easy. The client was very satisfied with the ease of use of the solution.

It took three days to a week to deploy.

We have a team of three people to deploy and maintain this solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price is not that good, but our clients value the solution despite the price.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated other vendors. Cisco was more expensive than Arista.

What other advice do I have?

I am not aware of all of the features but I would recommend this solution to others who are interested in using it. Clients are very satisfied with the implementation process.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Bharath Poovaiah - PeerSpot reviewer
Business Head at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Reseller
Top 5
Interchangeable licensing, reliable, and has good support
Pros and Cons
  • "Performance is good."
  • "I believe they should be more aggressive in terms of pricing."

What is our primary use case?

ExtremeSwitching is primarily used for Smart city projects, as well as a campus network. There are multiple customer requirements for government networks. These are some of the scenarios in which we have positioned Extreme.

What is most valuable?

Performance is good.

What needs improvement?

I believe they should be more aggressive in terms of pricing. That is most likely the only thing they need to work on.

They must work on pricing because you are competing with industry leaders such as Cisco, Hetty, Aruba, and Juniper. In terms of pricing, they need to be a little more aggressive in terms of switching. Because the Indian market is very price-sensitive, they must work on this.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with ExtremeSwitching for seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable solution. We have had no issues with the stability of ExtremeSwitching.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

ExtremeSwitching is a scalable solution.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also work with ExtremeCloud.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing is good with the cloud. They are able to interchange the license depending on their usage rather than having to buy individual licenses for each asset.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate ExtremeSwitching an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
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Buyer's Guide
LAN Switching
July 2022
Get our free report covering Cisco, Netgear, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and other competitors of Aruba Instant On Switches. Updated: July 2022.
620,319 professionals have used our research since 2012.