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Question Rack mount unmanaged switches.

jouster

Moderator
Decided to increase my port count in my patch panel cupboard.

I currently have a Netgear Prosafe 16 port job in there and it works looking at going up in size, I have a choice of Netgear or TPLink now.

I like TPLink products but dont really have experience of their networking kit.

Anyone got anything to say about them, good or bad.

Seems the have lifetime warranty like the ProSafe Netgear stuff but it’s about £50 more for the Netgear which is quite a difference

Comments very welcome
 
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razer1

Active Member
Ive got a couple of tp link desktop switches about here... Never given me any problems and Im after another soon for a studio extension Im building.

Looking for a AP / switch combo and will prob get another tp link one if I can find one that does what I need it to. :)
 

jouster

Moderator
A friend has just shown me some Unifi managed switches with some pretty impressive monitoring software.

Looks amazing and I’d love that level of management and control but the costs soon start to shoot up


Whilst the cost of Unifi kit seems high, it looks like I could get a managed switch for £114

Would unifi be worth the expense. In truth I’m quite nerdy with my home network (I just spent the weekend reordering and naming all 80 network devices at home.
 
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richardsim7

Distinguished Member
UniFi do great stuff, especially their WiFi products. But if you just want a dumb switch, I haven't had any problems with TP-Link
 

clovk

Standard Member
You sound a man after my own heart :)

I started out with dumb netgear prosafe switches but then bought d-link managed switches from eBay. Since then I've got a bunch of VLANs and run PRTG to monitor it all as well as my VM's and other stuff. I've spent ages setting up PRTG, labelling all the cables etc. Good job I've got an understanding wife :) The free version of PRTG is limited to 100 sensors per installation, I've got it running on 2 different VM's to monitor everything :D

The UniFi stuff looks really great, I know a few people that love it, and the 2nd hand prices aren't to scary, but personally I can't justify spending the money to replace what I've already got.

The Prosafe dumb switches I've used have always been reliable and have handle the stuff I pushed through them.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Haven’t used their switches @jouster but Ubiquiti APs are fab. Depends on what you want and your future intentions. Go for the best you can afford, if you believe the justification is there. Go for it!

Regarding the previous price difference thing, you know the well known adage!
 

Markr123

Active Member
For home and small business I always use netgear gs724t managed switches. Absolutely rock solid. At home I run a draytek 2960 feeding x2 of the aforementioned switches using VLans on the draytek. The switches support LAG for my x3 dell poweredge servers. Ports where required feed into a 1u PoE 12 port injector that then feed Ubiquiti AC Pros. The best combination per pound in my opinion.
 

jouster

Moderator
I already have Cisco Enterprise grade APs so covered on that front.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading the last few days and I’m thinking of going standard unmanaged on the next switch front too.

Vlans appear to be overkill for most homes and I have zero bottlenecks on my network. I always max out speeds when transferring any large amounts of data and I can only assume my 100tb server is more than robust enough as it’s happy to serve up 8 simultaneous uncompressed Blu-ray stream with ease.
 

misterS3

Active Member
I installed Netgear 724Ts at my work. 4 in a star topology for redundancy. I was a server guy back in the 90s so took me some googling to find out about spanning tree and port forwarding. But since then. They're rock solid despite power outages etc.
And I don't think I've got 80 devices on them!!

Sorry for being nosey. But how do you get 80 devices at home?
 

richardsim7

Distinguished Member
Yeah, I've got like 20 max, how on earth have you got 80? :laugh:
 

jouster

Moderator
Hahaha. Was wondering how long the first comments about the number of devices would take.

It is wired AND wireless devices

The bulk is Sonos devices with there being 14 of them. (14)

Router and 4 APs (4)

Security cameras (6)

Nest protect and thermostats (6)

3 TVs and various media player devices plus an amp and tv tuner box + Harmony Hub. (8)

Computers (obviously they have wireless and wired connections so 2 per device) (13)

And 8 Echo devices. (8)

Smart plugs (6)

Games consoles, only 2 connected at the moment (2)

a handful of tablets and phone. (8)

Plus a few random bits (garage door controllers, VOIP adapter and solar generation bridge (3)

Of those 43 are wired.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Like many I have started off with various ones and upgraded over the years.

I have had both TP-Link and Netgear as well as 3Com, Linksys and D-Link. The only one I have had fail so far was a Netgear GS108, whose power brick went. Even though I didn't think external PSU were covered by Lifetime warranty Netgear replaced it.

In the last year I went to UniFi AC Pro as my one access point. I say one as it replaced two TP-Link APs that had an issue with my Linksys LRT 224 Dual WAN router and VM connection. I found that it had sufficient coverage to get my entire house when mounted wrong way up on kitchen cupboard.

The issue with the APs is that they were limited to around 20Mbps on wireless when routed via the VM connection (300Mbps). Switching to my backup slower VDSL connection they hit 42Mbps which is about as fast I get over wire. Never found out was wrong but it was the same for stock firmware or OpenWRT.

I also upgraded my core switch to a D-Link Dsg 1210 which is a 24+4 PoE managed switch (£60 off the bay). I changed the fans for something a bit quieter as even though it was in my rack in my garage it was noisy as hell.

I do use VLANs on it to separate guest WiFi traffic from the main LAN. Stops your mates messing with your lights and Sonos :) The pub down the road really ought to sort that out as people change tracks when they don't like the music ...

One thing to watch as I am sure you are aware is noise and power consumption. The 3Com 48 port switch I entertained for a bit was like a jet engine, I am use to datacentres but this was daft. It also drank 100W of juice not doing much at all and that will cost you just over £100 if you have it on 24/7.
 

jouster

Moderator
Good points re VLANs. Thankfully most (not all) of my mates are semi sensible they’ll get a “one strike and they’re off wifi” allowance. Hahaha.

Power consumptions everything give promise of low energy usage so happy with that. All my intended ones are fanless so far.

Im also yet to go with POE as my cameras are hardwired an powered with small bricks. My current APs have power injectors which works well for me as dotted around the home with no prewiring for them.

I’m soon to be testing out some of the new Wave2 APs which offer , quite frankly, incredible speeds. Luckily I’m on a 500mb download line so I will see some vast speed improvements but regardless of my internet speed, just shifting large amounts of files over wireless will no longer be an issue (which it still can be at times)
 

richardsim7

Distinguished Member
Do you have a 17-floor house? :laugh:
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Good points re VLANs. Thankfully most (not all) of my mates are semi sensible they’ll get a “one strike and they’re off wifi” allowance. Hahaha.

Power consumptions everything give promise of low energy usage so happy with that. All my intended ones are fanless so far.

Im also yet to go with POE as my cameras are hardwired an powered with small bricks. My current APs have power injectors which works well for me as dotted around the home with no prewiring for them.

I’m soon to be testing out some of the new Wave2 APs which offer , quite frankly, incredible speeds. Luckily I’m on a 500mb download line so I will see some vast speed improvements but regardless of my internet speed, just shifting large amounts of files over wireless will no longer be an issue (which it still can be at times)
Yep I would have gone fanless but you don't seem to get >= 24 ports with fanless and PoE. I consolidated some power injectors at same time and so everything is running of my UPS now. Its great you can sit there still surfing the net whilst the lights are out, waiting for the wife to tell you to turn the power back on after a trip. (Having a problem with a certain combination of things including UHF causing an earth leak to trip RCD at mo)

I did a quick count and I only have 55 devices on DHCP, I think, so feeling inadequate now :cool:

What provider do you have for your BB ?

One of my best recent purchases was a Eaton managed PDU, £25 of the bay, brand new and its great for remote control and power consumption monitoring.
 

jouster

Moderator

jouster

Moderator
Yep I would have gone fanless but you don't seem to get >= 24 ports with fanless and PoE. I consolidated some power injectors at same time and so everything is running of my UPS now. Its great you can sit there still surfing the net whilst the lights are out, waiting for the wife to tell you to turn the power back on after a trip. (Having a problem with a certain combination of things including UHF causing an earth leak to trip RCD at mo)

I did a quick count and I only have 55 devices on DHCP, I think, so feeling inadequate now :cool:

What provider do you have for your BB ?

One of my best recent purchases was a Eaton managed PDU, £25 of the bay, brand new and its great for remote control and power consumption monitoring.
I luckily get my Broadband via a wireless link from a friends company that supplies wireless broadband solutions.

His company name is EssexWifi and it’s been amazing for me.

Turns out the Wave 2 product I’ll be getting is the Cambium E600 which I’m about to have a nerdy read up on
 

jouster

Moderator
I went with an unmanaged switch for now as I don’t think I’ll benefit much with a managed switch, not right now anyway.

Had a little look at VLANs for guest access but the setup on my Cisco APs was a little beyond me.

I manage to get a guest SSID set up and attached to a VLAN of its own, but when I connected anything to it, there was no internet connection

It seemed to be tied to the second VLAN not being native. It also gave out a very strange IP address nothing like the defined range I have set via DHCP.

Don’t think it helps that they were/are in autonomous mode.

Might be easier to setup once I have the new Cambian APs which are more suited to home users and have no requirement for a controller
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
If you setup a vlan then you also need some way of clients then accessing dhcp server for their address. This could be done a number of ways, in my case the router relays the dhcp requests to my dhcp server which has a different ip range. Sometimes whatever is configuring the vlan can do dhcp as well which might be where you strange values are coming from.

For the new access points don't you need to upgrade your clients too?. If they don't support the new standards then it will only work at their fastest speed
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
If you create a separate VLAN, it's an entirely separate network. It need it's own DHCP Server (or a relay agent, or manual allocation,) and it needs a "proper" (not SOHO) router to move traffic between VLAN 1,2, 3, (etc.) and the other (V)LAN's (including the ISP service) as required.

It's all rather (though not hugely) more complicated than buying a "managed" switch and ticking the "I want VLAN's" box.

Happy to discus if you're interested.

The "point" of a "managed" switch is that it has the feature set to avail such things (depending on the feature set of the "managed" switch you buy,) which require some "setting up" whereas an "unmanaged" does nothing more than basic switching which "just works" without any setting up.
 
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jouster

Moderator
Thanks for those last two replies peeps. Definitely makes a bit more sense now.

I’m running a Linksys WRT 1200 ac router with DDWRT firmware running and it works well for everything else and I remember there being ports on the back for a VLAN and now as you’ve said, it makes sense that creating a VLAN on an AP won’t do anything (unless that AP has the ability to create one autonomously (which I now know it doesn’t ).

Without a managed switch, I can’t send the designated VLAN to those APs directly so the VLAN won’t work.....or am I over complicating things now?

Even if I were to buy a managed switch, because I have extra dumb switches in between my main switch anyway, the managed portion of the network would, I assume, not get relayed to the APs anyway

So I’m guessing for now VLANs aren’t a possibility without a major rework of my network.

If I were just working from the router (but I don’t even use the WiFi from the router) I think all would be fine but adding the APs in requires a dedicated network connection for those specific ports, a bit like how AV over IP works.

GENERALLY, you can’t push that data through the standard network. They rely on point to point connections otherwise the data just gets mixed up and lost


I’m guessing that if I used the dedicated ports on my Linksys router and had those running to individual Ethernet ports in the house with no other switches in between, that VLANs would be fine. But it looks like without them I’m stuck.

If I were to use the VLAN of the switch over WiFi, which is the only time I’d use a VLAN, this would be fine, IF the WiFi from the loft stretched around the whole house. But that’s the whole reason I have these APs in the first place.
 
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Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
I use a Netgear GS7528TP for 24 ports with PoE/PoE+ and have even used the port mirror facility to check traffic on an individual port.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
DD-WRT may have the ability to route between VLAN's - however I don't know it so you'd have to check it's manual.

A way to think about VLAN's is to start out by dropping the "V" (virtual) and think about how you'd achieve the network you want using physical infrastructure and simple unmanaged switches.

For example, if you want two LAN's - let's call then "red" and "blue" you'd buy one set of switches and AP's for the red network and connect them all together with red network cables (the colour of the cable makes no actual diffierence, but helps illustrate the metaphor I'm using) and a second set of switches and AP's for the blue network and connect them together with blue cables. Obviously this can be a bit wasteful in terms of hardware as you can be duplicating a lot of hardware and cabliing.

This is where VLAN's start to be useful. Imagine some location where you have a red and blue switch physically co-located. I'll wave my magic "logic wand" and turn the red/blue switches into "virtual" switches and wrap the two switches inside a physical switch - let's make that switch "black." I then need to connect the ports of the virtual red/blue switches to the physical ports of the black switch using sort of "virtual" patch-cords inside the physical switch. In real switches this is done using the UI of the switch which is one of the reasons switches offering VLAN support need a management interface.

So far so good. Imagine I do exactly the same thing with another switch elsewhere, I can then connect the red virtual switch in one physical switch to the red virtual switch in the other physical switch using appropriately configured ports on the physical switches and so likewise for the blue network, thereby extending both the red and blue networks into both switches.

But that's bit wasteful in that I need to have separate cables for each network (imagine if you have many more VLAN's - you'd eventually run out of switch ports for the interlinks.) What we normally do instead is use something called "port trunking." We create a "special" port on each physical switch that is connected to both the red/blue virtual switches, but the "trunk" port is configured to "mark" all traffic that egresses through it with a "tag" that identifies which network the traffic came from. At the other end, the receiving switch (also using a specially configured "trunk" port) "reads" the VLAN tag of any ingressing traffic and directs the traffic to it's red or blue internal switch as required. Thusly, we have maintained traffic separation, but now no longer need separate cables to convey the traffic of each VLAN.

The only real downside of a "trunk" between the two switches is the bandwidth (traffic carrying capacity) of the trunk is shared (usually actually "competed" for) between both networks - but most of the time that's OK especially in lightly loaded SOHO networks (and there's ways to increase the bandwidth too.)

Notice there's no path between the red/blue networks anywhere - they are completely separated. What if we want to allow traffic to pass between the networks...? This is where routers enter the pictures. A "proper" router's job is to move traffic between networks. Often they possess various mechanisms to police what traffic is and isn't allowed between which networks using thing like routing tables and Access Control Lists (ACL.) And each LAN needs it's own way to obtain IP addresses (which incidentally will need to be of different subnets) often by having their own DHCP server, or a "relay agent" that can forward the DHCP requests fro one network to a DHCP server on another.

So our router will need to be connected to both red and blue networks (either physically, or by using trunking) and will need to be taught what traffic flows are and are not allowed - more admin work.

With better quality Wi-Fi AP's, you find similar VLAN separation and port trunking features available. In the scenario I've illustrated above, imagine instead of there being a switch on one end of my "trunk" cable there is instead an AP that "understands" VLAN tagging and port trunks and can be configured so that ingressing tagged traffic is distributed to different SSID's and egressing traffic is "tagged" in the same way as a switch identifying (effectively) which SSID the traffic originated from.

Thusly, with the right kit, correctly configured we can create multiple networks (VLAN's) and multiple SSID which can be kept entirely separate (if we want) or perhaps with some "rules" determining what traffic flows are allowed between which networks as we desire.

We do this sort of thing all the time in commercial environments, we might (for example) keep Finance separate from HR, "corporate" separate from the "shop floor", etc, etc. or I used to work in a university where we kept the (warring) faculties apart, separated "students own" computers from "guests" of our conference centre," etc. etc. Technically it's all much the same process (VLAN's, tagging, different SSID's, etc.) but the politics largely drives who can "see" who.

As you can see, this is not exactly rocket science, but it's not trivial either and you need the "right" kit that can talk to each other the "right" way, (fortunately, it's all "open standards" compliant these days,) and the expertise to set it all up - ie "managed" kit.

If you follow the logic, you'll see that you can in fact use "dumb" unmanaged switches (and AP's) in the mix, provided those switches are only connected to one LAN - they cannot convey both. For example, one could connect let's say a physical port in a managed switch to the "red" VLAN, then connect a dumb unmanaged switch to that port and thus the red network will be presented in the unmanaged switch. But the blue network won't be present in the downstream switch (and if you tried to connect up the blue network also, bad things would happen really quickly!)

Of course, this is all something of an abridged explanation - there's plenty of caveats to explore and "creative" wrinkles that can be exploited. For example, a lot of computer NIC drivers these days are "VLAN aware" (ie they can read/write the VLAN tags) so you could connect up a computer to a "trunked" port and have it connected to multiple networks with a single cable. I've done so with the odd server and often use a laptop this way when I'm fiddling around in the switch racks so that I can "keep an eye" on the all networks whilst I'm playing around and can undo things really fast if bad stuff start to happen. Not that I ever make silly mistakes you understand. :D Oh no, not me. :facepalm:
 
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jouster

Moderator
That was a very interesting and well thought out reply. Many thanks for taking the time to t your ideas into a reply.

Definitely gives me some stuff to look at once the new switch is in. I’ll also have a good read up on what I can do with DD-WRT.

That said, today I have install Yamon3

YAMon:: Usage monitoring by group and device...

It gives you a “by device” breakdown of how your eating up bandwidth.

It’s incredibly geeky/nerdy donuts right up my street.

It’s not the most polished interface out there, but with all my devices named on my network it needed very little work to get a good representation of what is using what.

All I had to do was group similar devices so I can see how much goes to each group.

I can get a by hour breakdown or daily/monthly numbers too at the click of a tab.

So far I’ve informed my wife she uses Facebook on her phone far more than me and concluded that my multiple Echo dots are only uploading data WHEN a trigger word is used. I had no real issues anyway but it’s good to see that people can be worried about something without actual proof.

The biggest shock is my Logi Circle Camera. So far today it has uploaded 2.5 GB of data to the cloud (which can be accessed or saved on a rolling 24 hour basis).

Whilst this is of no real concern now, my prior Broadband supplier had me on a relatively tight 160GB per month data allowance and having this running back then would easily have pushed me over my daily limit and probably required me to top up each month but without this system I’d never have any idea it was that.

Downloaded some PS4 games and updates today as well and it’s certainly interesting to see how well it measures all of the data that’s moving about.
 

jouster

Moderator
So switch arrived early doors (after being on backorder for a few days).

Let me turn this.

IMG_0343.JPG


Into this.

IMG_0348.JPG


Also all the extra ports have allowed me to relocate NAS, HABridge, and Invoxia to this cupboard too and still have 4 spare ports.

Also allowed me to pull this lot out

IMG_0349.JPG


Cabling will be a work in progress but happy with how it’s all looking for now
 

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