Layer 2 or layer 3 Switch

Posted on 2007-04-04
Last Modified: 2010-03-18
Looking to install a new switch needs to be a gigabit switch.  Looking to run VOIP on the network either use a mitel phone system or a avaya not weather to go for layer 3 or layer 2? Recommendations please and pros and cons of the two (layer 2or3 switch)
Question by:TokenHash
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 18851950
Anyday with your requirements I would suggest going for Layer 3 device so that you could eliminate the extra hop. With VoIP, you obviously want to do the vlans right? so do the routing in there as well - will be much faster and easy management.


Expert Comment

ID: 18855565
I think it really comes down to whether or not you are using vlans and mixing with your other traffic.  VOIP is going to have to go out the router anyway.  You can save your internal traffic from hitting the router by implimenting a layer 3 switch which in turn will free up your router to process those VOIP pakcets quicker.  Layer 3 is king here, much more flexability, especially  if your not sure how you want to do it up front.  

Author Comment

ID: 18856090
In what situation would you have layer 2 switch? does the extra Hop make that much of a difference (nano secs) as layer 2 is faster
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 18856307
It is not just about the speed in information transfer. It is about the number of hops and connections that you need to maintain and troubleshoot.


Author Comment

ID: 18856726
layer 3 always a better overall solution ????for troubleshooting etc
LVL 22

Accepted Solution

Reid Palmeira earned 500 total points
ID: 18861899
to add my two cents...
If you're running a setup where you will ONLY have voice on that switch, you can probably get by with an L2 switch.  If you're going to run either converged (voice and data across a single switchport) or mixed (voice on some switch ports and data on others) you'd be better served with an L3 switch so you can do proper VLAN tagging and inter-VLAN routing for proper QoS setup.

the other thing to watch for in a switch, particularly a gig switch, is PoE. If the IP phones have PoE and you want to make use of that, you're going to be stuck because the PoE switches are more expensive and typically have fewer gig ports (typicall for uplink or stacking ports only).

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