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Any difference between low-end Fast Ethernet Switches?

I'm purchasing two 10/100 switches for two offices - one with 11 users plus various devices, another with 8+.  I'm replacing two Linksys hubs that are producing some strange SNMP errors in my routers.  We'll need two 24-port switches.

I know that many folks recommend something from Intel or Cisco as the "best" switches, but I don't have that kind of money to spend.  So I'm looking at the low-end, unmanaged switches -- D-Link, Hawking, Netgear, etc.  (I'm staying from Linksys at this point.)

Is there any real difference between any of these switches that you can pick up for under $300?  What is the price point at which quality, speed, features really goes up?  $500?  $750?

I will probably only leave this open until Wednesday afternoon, as I want to place an order by the end of the day, Pacific time.  Thanks in advance for your help.
1 Solution
I would seriously stay away from netgear! I have had some serious problems with thier switches in the past and thier tech support sucks, you can't understand a word they say. You would be best off with a cisco or 3com switch in my opinion. I bet you can find some nice new cheap 3com 3300 24port switches on ebay for a very reasonable price. Good Luck
jonathanv_00Author Commented:
Hm.  Hadn't thought about ebay, although we sell stuff there occasionally.  I'll take a look tonight, thanks.  Your experience with Netgear sounds like mine with Linksys -- these are the third and fourth hubs we've had trouble with.  At least they replaced the first one.

But what's the real difference between a 3Com switch, say, and the low-end models?  Managed vs. unmanaged?  Will that make any difference in a small-office setting.
Yeah, they are managed switches. But the big differance is reliability!
What does it mean to be "Always On"?

Is your cloud always on? With an Always On cloud you won't have to worry about downtime for maintenance or software application code updates, ensuring that your bottom line isn't affected.

For low end, non-managed switches for a few desktops to share a wall plug, I have used Linksys, 3Com and Intel without any problems. We just buy 20-40 switches at a time that we believe can stand being moved around by office workers as they clean their desks and occasionally end up on the floor where cleaning people push them around with the vacuum cleaner. I don't think the very cheapest switches in their cheap plastic case can withstand that torture.
D-Link produces som nice, inexpensive SOHO routers and switches, but they are ugly so people tend to complain about that and the cases don't look rugged enough to withstand our office (ab)use.
jonathanv_00Author Commented:
Thanks for the comments, folks. These will be used in a server room, on a shelf, and I'll be the only one who ever really touches them.  So they sohouldn't need to be too bomb-proof, althought that's always a good consideration.

Don't think I can swing an Intel or 3Com switch, as I say.  Right now I'm down to a choice between Hawking (never really heard of them), D-Link (kind of ambivalent), and Allied Telesyn (very utilitarian, have had good experience with their smaller switches and hubs).  

If you have any comments on these, great; otherwiese I'll probably go the ATI route later this afternoon and award some points.  Thanks for your help.
We resell and use Allied Telesyn products quite often. Never have had a problem with anything from AT.
jonathanv_00Author Commented:
Thanks for the comments, folks.  I decided to stick with the low-end ATIs; some day, if our company grows to support it, maybe I'll have the luxury of investing in Ciscos or 3Com switches.  In the meantime, I'm awarding the points to adowns.  Svindler and lrmoore -- look for a consolation question with some points in it for you.  

Thanks again.

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