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Buyer's Guide
Ethernet Switches
June 2022
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Jeff_Cooper - PeerSpot reviewer
Information Technology Manager at King + King Architects
Real User
Enables us to run our backups much more quickly and has a good balance of price, performance, and features
Pros and Cons
  • "SFP, speed, and 10-Gigabit are the most valuable aspects of this solution. We're an architecture firm and we sometimes deal with large files. Anything we can do to eke out even a fraction of a second less time to get something done over the course of a year adds up. If I can get 10-Gigabit running in my server room, which I am right now, even though we're only gigabit to the desktop, due to the client computers we have, I can get more performance from everybody. I'm ready to start bringing in 10-Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop once I get the hardware to do that."
  • "The web interface has been a little sketchy on occasion. Sometimes I have to reload the page to get things to show up properly, but the switch itself seems fine. The web user interface is a little wonky at times."

What is our primary use case?

NETGEAR is our distribution switch for our local area network. We have about 80 data hosts connected to our network. They go through another set of switches into this distribution switch. From there they connect to our gateway and to our servers.

The switches are on our premise and there's no special software other than that it's just a network switch.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved my organization because now the entire network is quicker. A lot of users tell me that things seem faster but they can't really elaborate. My guess is everything is just a fraction of a second quicker going through the network and that adds up at the end of the day.

What is most valuable?

SFP, speed, and 10-Gigabit are the most valuable aspects of this solution. We're an architecture firm and we sometimes deal with large files. Anything we can do to eke out even a fraction of a second less time to get something done over the course of a year adds up. If I can get 10-Gigabit running in my server room, which I am right now, even though we're only gigabit to the desktop, due to the client computers we have, I can get more performance from everybody. I'm ready to start bringing in 10-Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop once I get the hardware to do that.

It's easy to use once you actually read the instructions. There is some searching you have to do on the documentation to find exactly what you're looking to get done but it's all there. NETGEAR's forums were very helpful because people actually pointed me in the right direction when I had problems setting it up.

We use it for IT switching. It is the distribution switch for our network and then I have access switches that feed into this switch that are also 10-Gigabit. IT switching is very nice. I run my backups much more quickly. It works out to about as fast as I thought it would be. I'm quite pleased. It's definitely worth it for what you're getting; a lot of switches, a lot of networks. I looked at a lot of different possible models and products before I bought these and I settled on NETGEAR because I thought there was a good balance of price, performance, and features. And so far, it has worked out.

I have POE switches going into this switch, but I don't use this switch particularly to distribute power. The model I have is not a POE switch. It's just the data switch.

We have server aggregation. Our main file server is aggregated through two SRP interfaces on the switch.

We also have wireless access in our network, but it doesn't talk to this switch directly. It goes through one of our access switches.

What needs improvement?

The feature to change settings on the switch needs improvement. I understand why it's there, I can change the settings on the switch and I have to actually hit save to lock them in, otherwise, on a reboot, the changes revert to the earlier settings. I've forgotten to hit save a couple of times. It should have more of a big red obvious "You need to hit save" button to lock your changes in; that would have been helpful. There were a couple of times where things suddenly stopped working and I realized it was because I rebooted it and undid what I just fixed.

The web interface has been a little sketchy on occasion. Sometimes I have to reload the page to get things to show up properly, but the switch itself seems fine. The web user interface is a little wonky at times.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using NETGEAR Switches for three months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far stability has been good. Now that we've gone live with them, I have not had to restart or shut them down at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If I had to do it again, I might've gotten a bigger switch with more ports on it because I'm using up more of them than I originally thought I would. But that's really not a scalability issue with the switch, that's just me not planning properly.

Only I am responsible for the maintenance of the switches. I'm an IT manager. 

In terms of size, we have about 70 employees, all of whom have ethernet connections through access switches to this switch. This is the core of our network.

I don't plan to increase usage much, if at all. This is what it's going to be for the next few years.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used technical support. 

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

NETGEAR replaced some Nortel switches that were about 11 years old. They were end of life and they were not as fast. I had gigabit and 100 megabits switches. I am hoping to have these for another 10 years. I'm going to get 10-Gigabit and gigabit for my network speeds.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward once I figured out what I was doing. It was fine once I acquainted myself with the switch and with some of the features. I was not pressured to get this done quickly. When the pandemic hit, we all went home so I had an empty server room in which to work so I could try to see if they worked and if they didn't, I could try it a different way. I did not have to risk taking down the whole network with people there. That was just a fortunate happenstance.

My implementation plan was to set up this switch along with my new access switches, which were also NETGEAR. I set them up disconnected from our live network. I put everything together, including the SFP uploads, in test client and test phones, and set everything up the way it was going to be. About a month and a half ago, I went in, unplugged the old switches, put in the new ones, and turned it on. It was very quick and easy but it took about a day and a half because we have a lot of cables.

In actual time, it took about a month and a half to deploy. But in actual work hours, it probably took about four days because we were doing it in fits and starts because we were trying to move out of the office when COVID hit.

There's a learning curve, but it's not as difficult as I thought it would be.

What was our ROI?

ROI is a soft benefit. It's hard to know. I don't know if the old switches would've died this morning. 

We have them for two purposes. One, to speed up our network. Two, to refresh with new hardware that isn't a decade old. So it's hard to determine.

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

Technology keeps changing so you don't need to buy something that's going to last 100 years. Buy something that you know you're going to have to replace in five or 10 years and price it accordingly. We were told that the Nortel switches we had bought would last for 10 to 20 years and that we would never have to replace it. Networking got faster in the years between and frankly, those switches got filled with gunk, they physically start wearing out, and fans die. As long as you know that it has a five to 10-year window, why would you pay 20 grand a piece for a switch? I just don't understand that.

There are no additional costs. We pay for licensing, hardware, and cables. That is it.

The pricing was definitely reasonable, I don't know if I'd say low. I think all networking equipment is more expensive than it should be. But NETGEAR had the price point that least annoyed me.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Cisco, Juniper, Dell, and HP but they were all nearly twice the price of NETGEAR. I also had some hesitation to some. There seems to be some hesitation by some IT professionals to use NETGEAR for their enterprise and business networking, but so far, I'm happy.

We also considered Ubiquiti. We have a couple of Ubiquiti wireless access points. So I said, "Well, I'll just look at them." Ubiquiti was a possibility, but a lot of what this came down to was that there seems to be some hesitation in the IT world about using NETGEAR for enterprise and for business use. They do have a pretty large in-home user market. 

I have a couple of older NETGEAR switches that are at least as old as the Nortel ones that I just replaced. They have been on for 15 years and have never been down. I thought that if they're still going, they can't be that bad. I'll try it.

The primary reasons we chose NETGEAR over Ubiquiti, Cisco, and other products are because NETGEAR seemed stable and it frankly seems easier to set up, especially more than something like Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be: Don't rush it. Give yourself time between getting the switch and putting it in. That helped me do this properly. Have patience. Read the documentation. Be organized.

NETGEAR has the ability to label the interfaces and you can label different things on the switch in the web interface, while our old switches didn't have this feature. That helps me keep track of what's where. Being organized is really the key to all of this. When I am home I can dial into our VPN, look at the user interface of the switch, and I can tell you what's in every port on that switch.

I would rate NETGEAR Switches a nine out of ten. The only thing that would take away a point would be the user interface. The web interface sometimes needs refreshing and doesn't keep up with what I'm trying to do.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Owner at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
A great console that provides high levels of flexibility
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature about Meraki is the console. The second most valuable feature, to me, is the technical support and the infrastructure behind the console."
  • "The biggest area that they fall short on is comparing the performance."

What is our primary use case?

The use case is small to mid-sized offices, under 500 ports.

How has it helped my organization?

The upgrades to the portal made it easier to manage the switches. The flexibility of the configurations is great — there are multiple configuration styles relating to deployment. If you're going to do Layer 3 at the edge, you're going to do Layer 3 at the core. The flexibility of the devices is very good.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature about Meraki is the console. The second most valuable feature, to me, is the technical support and the infrastructure behind the console.

I think their feature set is far better than most

What needs improvement?

The biggest area that they fall short on is comparing the performance. I don't have the articles in front of me, but the performance of a Cisco Meraki Switch versus some of the other devices that are more expensive or are equally as expensive as Meraki, they're falling short on the performance, because you're paying so much more money and they're not performing better.

That is a big problem when you talk to clients who've researched this. If ease of use and flexibility is important, I usually forego the high-end performance for the money. The performance is not bad, but let's say I bought one of the other Cisco switches or Juniper switches — they perform better for the same amount or even less money. That's a big drawback.

They need to work on the performance. Maybe the chipset that they're using is not as good as Juniper, for example. But their goal is not performance, it's consistency. If you're about consistency and ease of use, Cisco is definitely better. If you're about performance, that's where they fall short.

Keep in mind, that's my opinion; someone may argue differently with me — that Meraki is not better. It's not slower or less performance-optimized, but it's something I come up against when I discuss it and offer it as a solution versus Juniper or some other devices.

I want to use Meraki because I want to be able to plug it in and set it up in 15 minutes. Then when I have to troubleshoot something, it's easy. When I have a problem with the network, I call them up and they help. They actually help. You call up some of these other vendors, they're like, "Huh? Oh, you got to do all this stuff." I'm like, "No, no, no. Let's look at the logs together. Then you tell me what you see. And then I'll fix, or I'll adjust, or we'll replace." I don't want to go through this whole story and song and dance as I did with HP. So it's a problem.

Cisco overcomes that, but performance is where they get hurt. When you talk to any of the other guys that do network architecture, they're like, "Well, we're not going to pick Cisco Meraki. We're going to pick the other Cisco switches, or we're going to pick Juniper, or we're going to pick something else, but we're not going to go with Meraki." I'm like, "Okay." But in a small to medium-sized business, you can't beat them. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Meraki MS Switches for four to five years.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give Meraki MS Switches a rating of nine. The only drawback is the cost — that's what kills them.

I am not paying for the equipment; someone else is paying for it. Someone has to be willing to pay the premium for that and they have to see the value. I'm not a salesman, but if I want to go with Cisco, I have to show the client that if they buy Cisco Meraki versus Ubiquiti, they're going to do better.

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.
Chukwunenye Ekwe Jnr. - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Presale Manager at a tech services company with self employed
Real User
Top 10
Supremely reliable but would benefit from bulk fixing and patching.
Pros and Cons
  • "The features that I have found most valuable with Cisco switches are that once you get your configuration you can rest assured that it will work. The OS is not going to be failing intermittently or anything like that. Once you get your configuration end-goal right, the firmware and the OS are usually very stable enough to work a long time without support. Support is needed once in a while. My experience is that the Cisco switches are usually rocket."
  • "In terms of what could be improved, there is the bulk issue that is sometimes experienced with Cisco products we've used."

What is most valuable?

The features that I have found most valuable with Cisco switches are that once you get your configuration you can rest assured that it will work. The OS is not going to be failing intermittently or anything like that. Once you get your configuration end-goal right, the firmware and the OS are usually stable enough to work a long time without support. Support is only needed once in a while. My experience is that the Cisco switches are usually rocket.

What needs improvement?

In terms of what could be improved, there is the bulk issue that is sometimes experienced with the Cisco products we've used. I don't know how it could be possible to be done, but it would be very good if there was an automated patching system. It would be a very big and difficult one, because some of these routers or switches or products are not even within an internet environment. This is especially limited with the switches. Routers can be connected to the internet and switches might not even have internet access and might just be for the local area network. If it has an internet connection, that would be great and if it has an automated parking code inside of the POE this would help them to patch without the user's input.

In the next release, I would like to see bulk fixing. That is basically what I do now. If we could have an automated patch for Cisco to just be standard for patching switches or routers or firewalls by default without the input of anyone adjusting, that would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches since 2009, so probably for 13 years now.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, normally you have a 24 port switch or a 48 port switch, which are fixed to scalability. So you can't really go beyond what has been provided. If it's a 24 switch, it's 24 users, if it's 48 it's 48, except if you're using the switch as an extender for a wireless device. That is a different conversation, but if you're using it in a LAN environment and for a connected, wired connection, then you can't scale.

But you can connect multiple switches to themselves and stack them and make it one switch depending on your design.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is pretty easy. It's usually easy to configure, especially when you are using it for basic switching. It is usually easy to configure the VLAN, the PTPs and all of that.  The major work lies with your architecture and your design and how you want to use the solution, because once you get the architecture right, then your configurations and all will be very simple. But if you don't, you might have to do a lot of work when it comes to configuring.

A lot depends on how you configure it from the beginning. It's going to influence how it's going to work the rest of the time.

What other advice do I have?

When it comes to switches and routers, I will always prefer Cisco over any other.

On a scale of one to ten, I'll give Cisco Ethernet Switches a seven because switch-wise, I think Juniper switches are also very good in performance. Especially the high end switches.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Udochi Ododo - PeerSpot reviewer
Manager, Technical Planning and Solutions Design at Galaxy Backbone Ltd
Real User
Top 5
Reasonably priced and the bandwidth management capabilities are good
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is its bandwidth management ability."
  • "They should improve technical support and make direct access available to the customers."

What is our primary use case?

I am a solution provider and I deploy this product for my customers. Primarily, it is used for last-mile access. When I deploy it in an enterprise environment, It is normally for bandwidth control.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is its bandwidth management ability.

What needs improvement?

The routers that this vendor makes are quite small and I think that they should make their products such that they conform to what the industry is used to. Not that it matters from a technical perspective, but often, customers see the size of the router and they think that it is used for a small environment because of its size. They look at the router and because it doesn't look like the Huawei or Cisco models, they think that it is underpowered because of the size. If they changed the external look and feel of the products to match what the enterprise environment is used to, then it would be good. Again, in no way does it affect the performance. Rather, it's just the perception.

They should improve technical support and make direct access available to the customers.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with MikroTik Routers and Switches for approximately 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

On a scale of one to five, I would rate stability a four.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a scalable solution. Although, if you deviate too much from your original device then you will need to change it. If, for example, the scope changes significantly from the initial setup, then you might have to change your device.

Essentially, if the change in scale is too large then you might need to also scale your device accordingly.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is not very good, as it is usually done through third-parties. You don't have direct access to MikroTik themselves. Most of the support we get is through forums.

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

I also work with similar products from Juniper, Cisco, and Huawei.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex and you need to have a deep understanding in order to deploy it. The time it takes to deploy will depend on what you're configuring, in terms of what technologies. Typically, if it's just for connectivity, in usually 20 to 30 minutes you should be able to get MikroTik up and running. But, if it's compliance and other things then it may take a while longer.

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

The pricing is very reasonable and is one of the main selling points for MikroTik devices.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is implementing MikroTik Routers is to make sure that they have the requisite toolsets onboard to manage the devices so that they don't run into problems. Otherwise, it is a good and inexpensive product to use.

I would rate this solution an eight 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.
Reviewer1124ty6 - PeerSpot reviewer
Project Manager at MULTILINK COMPUTERS PVT LTD
Real User
Top 5
Advanced and robust OSS that gives you flexibility with routing
Pros and Cons
  • "The beauty of MikroTik is that you have flexibility with the routing parts."
  • "The port isolation and VLAN need to be improved."

What is our primary use case?

This solution has been used for government projects like health management information systems and for the Wi-Fi segment. 

We are using different models of this solution because we are a distributor in India. We're using VPS, the 24 board, 48 board, PoE, and non-PoE.

The solution is deployed on-premises.

What is most valuable?

The beauty of MikroTik is that you have flexibility with the routing parts. The price is also very competitive.

What needs improvement?

The port isolation and VLAN need to be improved. The switch configuration needs to be simplified. There are lots of tutorials available, and we're still doing it in a very simple way. There needs to be documentation.

Something that could be added is a stacking feature in MikroTik.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would rate the stability a 9 out of 10.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is quite scalable.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support will solve issues within 24 hours. 

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

Juniper's hardware is pretty good, and the life of the product is very long. It has an eight year lifespan. MikroTik has a three to five year maximum lifespan.

Juniper also has scalability stacking of all the features. The larger companies, particularly Airtel and Reliance, are also using it. It's not a basic thing because the price point market is there in India. So, Juniper will not go to the lower segment of the market but is still in the highest segment of ISPs and big telcos.

How was the initial setup?

Deployment takes a maximum of 30 minutes. There is no need for maintenance after the solution is deployed.

We install this solution for our customers, both onsite and offsite.

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

The price is competitive. The MikroTik distributor will give the license. Distributors offer a variety of service and support. In Juniper, there is a warranty pack and a support pack, which involves directly communicating with the OEM for this. They are charging extra, but they're still okay. If the customer wants a service and is ready to pay, they are going to get a good result.

MikroTik doesn't give the same result.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution 9 out of 10.

If the price point of the market is there, MikroTik is the best. I think the Cloud Router Switches are most suitable for mid-segment companies and not large telcos. Their OSS is advanced and robust.

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: Reseller
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Buyer's Guide
Ethernet Switches
June 2022
Get our free report covering Cisco, Aruba Networks, Arista, and other competitors of Juniper Ethernet Switches. Updated: June 2022.
610,229 professionals have used our research since 2012.