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Buyer's Guide
Ethernet Switches
June 2022
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Senior Project Manager / Systems Engineer at a consultancy with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Multicast is a great feature, critical for access to video systems
Pros and Cons
  • "Multicast is a great feature of this product."
  • "Network setup is quite complicated, particularly if you're implementing in a non-technical environment."

What is our primary use case?

Our main use case of ethernet switches is for security networks for digital video, digital access control, and digital inter-communications. Most of our work is for public institutions, including hospitals and universities when they need upgrades to POE switches. We're consultants in the security industry and I'm the senior project manager/systems engineer.

What is most valuable?

One of the prime features of this product is Multicast which is critical for video systems, ensuring you don't take down the network during an event where everybody needs video access. It generally requires layer 3 switches so that we cut up VLANs and separate different aspects of the systems. 

What needs improvement?

Network setup and Multicast are critical components for us and when you're also programming for video streams it can become quite complicated. It's more of an issue when you're dealing with public institutions and there might be a lack of tech-savvy people. When it comes to the video streams, if you're sending real-time video in a security system, and you drop packets, the information is lost and you can't get it back. That's a critical aspect for us. One of the issues we have is that the guy doing the video system knows how that works, and the network people know how the network works, but they don't know how to communicate with each other. The industry is trying to adapt to sort out that problem.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for over 30 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution covers it all. I've done everything from simple 12-port switches for a small facility to a wide area network with core switches and multiple redundant communication lines and there haven't been any scalability issues. There's no one-size-fits-all in terms of maintenance required, it depends on the size of the organization. 

How are customer service and support?

On one of our recent large projects where we used core switches, I worked in-depth with technical support to help determine how to configure the switches, which hardware was required, and how to get the redundant communication paths. We don't use support much but when we do they're very helpful. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex. We've found that a lot of people don't know how to configure Multicast properly on a network, particularly in government agencies. It's one of the key components, especially when you're in the security industry, and it's a big issue for us. There's a steep learning curve in terms of properly setting up the network to manage the Multicast traffic, and then programming, especially on the IP video systems. Because they're managing video streams both systems have to be set up properly, and there seems to be a lack of knowledge around that. 

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

Our clients purchase the license so we're not involved in that aspect. Cisco doesn't like to give out information unless you're a dealer. For smaller projects, the cost is an issue and organizations will often look for less expensive options. Cisco is the major player in the network environment, but there are numerous alternative products that may be less feature-rich but fit the bill from a cost perspective. In addition to licensing, there is likely to be an annual fee to enable access to support. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We previously looked at Extreme Networks, Fortinet, Aruba and NETGEAR. When we're dealing with harsh environments, we tend to look at companies like ComNet, EtherWAN, GarrettCom, who make hardened switches for harsh or difficult environments. A lot of the main players only make switches that go in data centers and IDF rooms.

What other advice do I have?

When configured properly, the solution works. I rate this solution nine out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Federal Field Systems Engineer at a government with 51-200 employees
Real User
Flexible, good performance, and easy to scale
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature of this solution is the Junos operating system."
  • "Some areas of technical support could be better."

What is our primary use case?

We are service providers and we are vendor agnostic. We try to find a solution that best fits the customer's needs and this is one of the products that we implement for them.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this solution is the Junos operating system. It's an open-source operating system that lets you use the programming languages with it, to tailor it. You can develop automation scripts with JSON or other different programming languages.

Most of the switches are SDN ready, they are 5G ready, and they are going to incorporate wireless into their switches.

It's a flexible platform.

In terms of speed, being the total processing speed and total bandwidth per box, they usually outpace most competitors.

Juniper Ethernet Switches meet the needs of just about every customer.

What needs improvement?

There are no weaknesses that I know of with Juniper.

When it comes to Juniper and other vendors such as Cisco, it comes down to pricing. Customers want value for the least amount of money.

Some areas of technical support could be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

With this current company I have been using Juniper Ethernet Switches for two years but for me, I have worked with them off and on for 20 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable, it's rock solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Juniper Ethernet Switches are scalable. If you want to scale, you can go from a small enterprise switch up to service provider-type switches, and the configurations are going to be the same.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. None of them are great, but I think they are pretty good. It depends on who you get, from level 1 and up.

From sales technical support, they are excellent. From technical support out in the field, they might be average. Experiences may vary.

Some can be technically smart, but they haven't had the experience of actually troubleshooting and going through scenarios.

How was the initial setup?

I am mainly in sales support. If I have to go in and do some configuration, it's pretty straightforward.

It's not complex, but it is generally other SEs who configure the switches and routers.

What other advice do I have?

You can have Junos as your operating system but if you wanted to write a script to automatically update all of the versions of your software, you can do that automatically.

If you wanted to gather information, you can write a script using JSON, or Python. This is already available on the Junos operating system.

Cisco is the most popular, but if you have seasoned or experienced people like DevOps that write code and they are engineers, then Juniper would be the better choice because they have the flexibility to do that. Cisco is starting to catch up now, where you can automate Cisco's switches using the same methods. To this point, Junos has been way ahead of Cisco in that aspect.

Because of our relationship, customers can better pricing with us. Cisco tends to be a little higher.

Before getting started you have to know your network, know the current state of your network, and know what are the pain points of your network are. Do you see bottlenecks in your network? Is your equipment responsive? Is your data backing up, because you don't have enough bandwidth? There are many factors to consider and it depends on the network and where the switches are going.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Lead Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
Functions well, easily scalable, and installation simple
Pros and Cons
  • "I have found the solution to be stable."
  • "In this solution, you are lacking a feature that Cisco Classic has that allows you to save your configuration with a serial cable."

What is our primary use case?

This solution is suited for the cookie factory just around the corner and up to including multinational organizations with locations spanning around the globe.

What is most valuable?

The solution is a switch and many of them do the same operations, it connects devices together.

What needs improvement?

In this solution, you are lacking a feature that Cisco Classic has that allows you to save your configuration with a serial cable.

In some deployments, I would like stacking to act like RAID 1 but not if you are updating the firmware of one switch in a stack. Stacking and switches with Meraki, they need to improve on this. I had a different experience with Extreme Networks which behave completely different.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for approximately three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have found the solution to be stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is plug and play. If you want to upgrade, all you do is plug it in and it works.

How are customer service and technical support?

In my experience, they sometimes reply with a proper answer and others they reply with, "You can always file the I wish button request" I am confused why an organization would push automatically scheduled release candidate firmware. They tend to be too pushy. After this, I have to look at every customer individually and cancel those updates, which does not make sense to me.

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

I have used Extreme Networks and Cisco products in the past, some of the features are better than this solution in Extreme Networks and Cisco's licenses will not expire like they do in this solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was as easy as a setup can be, we had no issues.

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

The licensing element is not favourite with Meraki. My opinion is if you buy something, it should be yours, and not if the license expires, the lights go out, or you might not be able to manage it anymore. The licensing is purchased on a one, three, five, and seven year basis.

What other advice do I have?

Switches are switches, they do what they say they do on the box. I do recommend this solution If you are looking for something easy, and do not mind having to renew your license or else you will not be able to manage it anymore. Then this solution could be a good fit. Cisco Classic 2900 Series and the likes, they just keep on going. Unless you really need support, that is extra, but at least functionality will not expire with the license.

I rate Meraki MS Switches an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Access Network Operations Unit Manager at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
Straightforward to set up, and works well for our network core and distribution layers
Pros and Cons
  • "Cisco Linksys Ethernet Switches are pretty good overall."
  • "We are expecting one software that can run across all of Cisco hardware, software, and Cisco Switch router, similar to what Juniper has."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is for the core and distribution layers.

It's used for normal switching and access. We are only using it with the data center model to have a distribution layer, core layer, and access layer.

What is most valuable?

Cisco Linksys Ethernet Switches are pretty good overall.

What needs improvement?

There is a lot of competition between Cisco, Juniper, and other switches such as Extreme. Our IT team is comfortable with Cisco switches, but the only problem is that there are many different versions of software that can be used across different platforms of Cisco, and normally with other vendors, we have a unified software that is running across different platforms, but Cisco does not.

We are expecting one software that can run across all of Cisco hardware, software, and Cisco Switch router, similar to what Juniper has. 

They are stable, but not as good as Juniper, they could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with Cisco Linksys Ethernet Switches for more than 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Cisco Linksys Ethernet Switches are stable, but if you are comparing with Juniper, from the routers and switches, Juniper is more stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a scalable product. In our organization, we have approximately 50 people using it.

We plan to continue using Cisco switches and we are expanding every year.

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

We have diversity in our network. Usually, we have at least two vendors.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

Deployment time depends on the criticality of the location we are installing these boxes. For example, if it is a greenfield, it can take one or two days, and it is a capital location such as a data center it can take some time for measuring and configuration from the old networks to the new network, which would take two or three weeks.

We have a team of many experts who work here.

The deployment team is made up of an engineering team and a deployment team. Also, we have a rollout team for stacking and racking who are technicians.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use a vendor or reseller. We use our experts in our network who have excellent experience with every Cisco product.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend Cisco Linksys Ethernet Switches for anyone who is interested in using this solution.

I would rate Cisco switches a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Diego Mirones - PeerSpot reviewer
General Manager at Qhawariy
Real User
Top 20
Good bandwidth, well suited for small locations
Pros and Cons
  • "These routers and switches are very stable."
  • "This product could offer better integration with VPNs."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and we focus on integrating and monitoring critical infrastructure. We offer many products to our clients for Wi-Fi, switching, cabling, and monitoring. We also offer sensors and other devices in our portfolio. 

We implement MikroTik Routers and Switches for small locations.

How has it helped my organization?

Our clients in Bolivia have very basic security, so the firewall features provided by our solutions are helpful.

What is most valuable?

This product is very good in terms of bandwidth.

What needs improvement?

This product could offer better integration with VPNs. We have a SOC for network monitoring and all of our clients are connected to it. Through the SOC, we integrate our clients with our VPN.

The switching capabilities could be improved. These devices have a lot of potential but need to improve first.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with MikroTik Routers and Switches for approximately three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

These routers and switches are very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, these products are good.

We use MikroTik products for small locations. We sometimes only put one or two devices in a location, depending on the industry and the bandwidth requirements.

We have between 20 and 25 devices installed with four clients.

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

We work with products from several vendors including Check Point, Extreme Networks, and occasionally Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Buyer's Guide
Ethernet Switches
June 2022
Get our free report covering Cisco, Cisco, Extreme, and other competitors of Extreme VDX. Updated: June 2022.
610,190 professionals have used our research since 2012.