Sharing an internet connection among several offices.

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I have read some of the similar questions and received some good information, though the threads were from a couple of years ago. I am asking my specific question because equipment changes over time and there may be a better solution at a lower cost available now.

I am bringing in a fiber connection to an office building to be shared among 20 distinct offices (separate businesses). It was recommended that I do this with VLANs on a Layer 2 switch. These VLANs will NOT communicate with each other.

After looking into it, this seems like a good solution to me. Now I have to decide which switch I need, that is what is the least expenses switch that will meet the following criteria:

20 VLANS (each VLAN would be 1 port as that would be directly connected to that office's network) with a set IP range for their network.
VOIP - many of the businesses are using Hosted VOIP, will this interfere?
Bandwidth Control - I want to be able to apportion a minimum amount of bandwidth to each office below which they won't lose if they are using the net. When not in use I want it free for all to use. Effectively they are sharing the upper limits without compromising some minimum performance. I would also like the ability to just give them a set slice of bandwidth.
Support - i would like 24/7 tech support and 4 hour hardware replacement
Management - would like to be able to manage this remotely over the internet

I have found that there are a ton of choices, Cisco alone has 6 24 Port Layer 2 switches and I can't tell the difference. So your help is greatly appreciated.
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Sr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
Get a 3560 or 3750 Cisco switch. You can then set up Private vlans and configure each business as a isolated port. Then set up the fiber as a promiscous port. There are many other configuration options also. Will just need more info about your design.

Author

Commented:
[Fiber ONT]
       |
[Layer 2 Switch]
   |                |               |
[office 1]   [office 2]   [etc]

Offices are not connected to each other.

Will the considerably less expensive 2960 work?
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
What type of wan connection will this fiber be?

Author

Commented:
Not sure what that means. What are the types? I can find out.
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
I mean what type of internet connection. Is this metro ethernet, or just an extension from another building? Regardless, I would still go with 3560 or 3750 because of the Layer 3 capabilities and more options regarding QOS.

Author

Commented:
Can you help me understand the benefit that layer 3 would give me here?

This is a direct fiber connection, not from another building. This is just sharing an internet connection between several distinct businesses.
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Okay, is this fiber a connection to the ISP or part of a larger campus network? What type of service is this?

Author

Commented:
This is just fiber to the ISP. No larger campus. No other switches or segments. All VLANs are distinct. They do not talk to each other. They are separate companies.This is 10 or 20mb fiber from AT&T.
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Okay, next question will you be using your own router or the on provided by ATT?

Author

Commented:
The one provided by ATT will feed into the switch.
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Okay, so you need to make sure this router supports vlan tagging, else you will need a layer 3 switch.
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
Upon further research teh 2960 doesn't support private vlans.

Author

Commented:
I am not sure how vlan tagging applies here. The VLANs are not sharing the same ethernet network and are not communicating with each other. Can you help me to understand why I need that?
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
Well, the router that you are plugging into the switch will only be connected to one port. How will it communicate with all of the vlans you have created? It will need to be either connected to a trunk port and be able to recognize the vlan tags so that it can route traffic back to the appropriate business vlan, or it will need to be connected to a routed port and that is only available on L3 switches. Now, you didn't state what equipment the businesses are connecting to this switch.  This could play a big part in the design. If they are connecting their WAN equipment and will have their own public ip addresses, then a  L2 switch would possibly suffice.

Author

Commented:
Sorry if I left that out. Yes, they will each be getting at least one public IP address.

The Adtran NetVanta 1234 was recommended to me earlier and Cisco recommended the Catalyst 2960, but said the Series 200 or 300 would also work. I am concerned about VOIP and also spending as little as possible to make this economically viable for all of the businesses. At the same time, I want it to be as reliable as possible since I will be supporting it. Do you think one of the above would be best? Or is it necessary for me to go to 3560 or 3750?
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
See that was a big part that you left out.  In that case the 2960 should work for you.

Author

Commented:
Actually, I didn't leave it out, but maybe it wasn't as clear as it could have been:

"20 VLANS (each VLAN would be 1 port as that would be directly connected to that office's network) with a set IP range for their network."

You seem to prefer Cisco (I like them as well) but the provider is pushing the Adtran. Do you know if that would work as well? Any issues you know of regarding VOIP with either? Can I get away with a Dell or Netgear for even less money? I can't figure out what my trade offs are. Even between all the different Cisco Layer 2 switches, 200, 300, smart series, managed series, etc.
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
It really just comes down to what you want to do with the switch. I am Cisco bias, but if ATT will support the Adtran I would go ahead and get it. I don't know anything about it though. As for Dell's, HP, etc. They are just as good also.

Author

Commented:
On the Cisco, do you think I can get away with a less expensive one like the 200 or 300 series or is the Catalyst 2960 the minimum?
Aaron TomoskyDirector of Solutions Consulting
Commented:
You should be able to use any managed layer 3 switch. Never tried these but I use the heck out of the netgear smart switches for my normal switches.
http://netgear.com/business/switches/fully_managed_switches/GSM7328S-200/

SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
One thing you need to bear in mind, which you state in your requirements is limiting bandwidth. The 2960 is very limited in regards to QOS as well as other cheap switches. Make sure the switch you decide has the necessary qos features you are asking for also. You will most definitely need it as the business will be sharing the bandwidth. You do not want on business hogging all of the bandwidth.

Author

Commented:
That is absolutely what I am looking for, a switch that can do what I need at the cheapest price point. I appreciate all of the help and tips, I'm learning a lot. At the same time, I would like to know if anybody has a recommendation for layer 2 switches that the can do these things.
Marius GunnerudSenior Systems Engineer
Top Expert 2013
Commented:
The 2960 and 3560 are quite similar in QoS configurability minus the fact that one only supports L2 while the other supports both L2 and L3.  i would say if you are on a budget and the ATT router supports VLAN tagging, then the 2960 will do fine. Otherwise, I would agree with Soulja that the 3550 or 3560 would be the better options, for performance and configurability. Ofcourse if the ATT router doesn't support tagged vlans, the choice becomes that much easier.

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/switches/ps5718/ps6406/product_data_sheet0900aecd80322c0c.html

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/switches/ps5718/ps5528/product_data_sheet09186a00801f3d7d.html
Commented:
I think there was confusion on my part as I am learning. From what I understand now, and what I think some of you were saying, what I want to do could be accomplished in conjunction with the router. I am not sure if I would have the ability to configure the ATT supplied router (its a 1941 btw). I was informed by Cisco today that I could use an 891 or 1941 with any 24 port switch to accomplish my goals.

The 891 is quite a bit cheaper, unless the GE ports on the 1941 can be used as routed ports. If not, I need to buy Wan Interface Cards also. If they do, the 1941 might be a safer bet and only a couple hundred more than the 891. Does anybody know if the 2 ports are routed?

Also, am I on the right track now?
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
If you are referring to the Cisco 1941 ISR router, then yes, the two ports are routed ports.

Author

Commented:
Although there are many potential solutions, the Cisco 1941 router seems to be the best one in my case. Thanks to all for the help.

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