Router/Switch reccomendation...

Posted on 2009-07-13
Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I need a reccomendation on a router/switch combination for an office with 1 server and 12 work stations. They Peachtree Accounting software, and two other programs that use fairly heavy SQL traffic between the workstation and the server. The server and all the workstations have Gigabit ports, and we're replacing the cat5 cabling with cat6. I need a router that can with Gigabit ports that can handle the traffic without choking, and a reliable switch. The combo should idealy be scalable to about 20 workstations, in case we expand.
Question by:WraithTDK

Accepted Solution

dosdet2 earned 125 total points
ID: 24844267
You didn't say whether the router was internet facing (Firewall) or not.  The best way to go is a Cisco PIX and switch, however they are probably out of your price range (as they are mine).  We use Netgear Prosafe 24 10/100/1000 switches (3) and sonicwall tz 210 firewall (router).  

We are heavy users of both internet and network and these hold up really well.  The sonicwall requires a maintenance package which incorporates security features that are updated and hosted by sonicwall.  This extra cost was really hard for me to swallow.   But I first purchased the sonicwall (tz1700) on a special and the difference in internet speed and internet based problems was incredible.  
We burned up 2 netgear prosafe firewalls (in 1 year) before switching to the sonicwall.  Our 3rd Prosafe is now our emergency backup.

I have been very happy with the netgear switches too.  2 of them are going on 4 years old and 1 is about 1.5 years with no problems with either.  here is a link to the switches we have. (You can get them anywhere, not just tiger direct.)  I hope this helps.

LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 24844468
Realistically unless you are routing internally to different subnets, having gigabit on your router is not going to gain you much.  To handle the traffic between server and workstations - get yourself a gigabit switch.  I use Cisco only but as per above, they are more expensive so if outside of budget then try and get your self a good brand managed switch (Netgear etc)

As your outbound is going to be far less than GB (unless you are extremely lucky!) you can use 100MB on the routers interface for any kind of WAN (MPLS/IPSec VPN) or internet routing.  Depending on traffic amount and interface requirements, the Cisco 1841 is a good all rounder as an internet/WAN router.  For internet, you may want to look at the firewall feature set in the Cisco IOS.  Again, if you are not willing to stretch to Cisco, have a look at the other brands but compare specs accordingly.

LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Aaron Street
ID: 24847751
I agree with the 1800 series routers. and the 1841 is a decent spec router, for the security image you are looking at £1200 but that gives you an integrated firewall and very good set of features to use.

To be honest I never understand people wanting to go Gig, even with 500+ people all running back to core over a 1 gig link it rarely goes above 2 or 3 % uterlisation.  and for 99.9% of users they will see no proformance incress over 100mbs

My best suggestion if you want to go gig, is to get a layer 3 gig switch. to do the internaly routing as it will do so much better than a WAN router such as the 1841. (3750G maybe)

and then run the wan link using a 1841 off this.

however this is the most expensive of the ideas suggested here. but in my mind the best.
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Expert Comment

ID: 24850326
Advantages of going to Gig is really dependent on the type of processing that is done.  We have heavy traffic in our small office, a lot of PDF file transfer, network scanning & faxing, Voice & Email and we backup 2 servers across the switches to a single backup server.  Switching to Gig made a very noticeable difference for us.

One more note on our gateway router, the TZ-210 does use Gbit on the inside port.  It is a fairly new upgrade for us so I can't speak as to any increase in internet performance, but the programming interface is much quicker that it's predecessor (TZ-170 / 100Mb interface)
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 24854620
Agreed - requirement for Gigabit is completely subject to the environment.
I wouldn't recommend going with a layer 3 switch.  Its perfect for routing internal subnets but from what you have said you have no internal vlans/segregated subnets and will be scaling future growth at 20 machines.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31603028
Thanks for all the feedback. I've gone over specs for every router I could find, and  I'm pushing for a Sonicwall TZ210.

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