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Switch recommendation

Posted on 2015-01-22
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Last Modified: 2015-02-05
Hi,
  I am building a new network with about 6 workstation PCs and, 1 File Server. Usually I would buy like a 16port switch like NETGEAR 16 Port Gigabit Business-Class Desktop Switch (GS116), however this time I am going to deploy the VoIP phones (to be specific, Hosted PBX by Intermedia.net). So there will be about 6 phones.
 Based on your experience, should I consider a different kind of switch that is better suited for VoIP network + conventional PC network or just stick to something like NETGEAR 16 Port Gigabit Switch?
 Do I need something like Cisco Small Business SG220-26P 26-Port Gigabit PoE Smart Plus Switch or NETGEAR ProSAFE GS752TP 48-Port Gigabit PoE Smart Switch?
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Question by:sglee
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LVL 14

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by:brendanmeyer
brendanmeyer earned 56 total points
ID: 40565809
you will most likely need a POE switch
the first one GS116 doesnt have any poe ports
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by:Kamran Arshad
Kamran Arshad earned 56 total points
ID: 40565825
Hi,

Depends on your budget.. Usually modern switches have specific voip ports as  well... I remember Juniper had separate voip ports in their EX series... Similar switch will help you and yes you need PoE
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40566130
Why PoE switch is necessary?
What is going to happen if I just go with regular switch and plug in ethernet phones into the non-PoE switch?
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LVL 13

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by:akb
akb earned 112 total points
ID: 40566147
The phones need power. POE is Power Over Ethernet. You can use the phones without a POE switch but you will need to provide power to each phone by plugging a power pack into each phone.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40566148
Another question is if I should get two separate switches like 8 to 16 port PoE switch to plug in phones and get that PoE switch connected/wired to reg. 16 port gigabit switch? Vs. buying a 24 to 48 port PoE switch and connect both computers & phones..m
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by:akb
akb earned 112 total points
ID: 40566159
POE ports cost money so 2 switches may be cheaper. Some switches come with 8 POE ports and 8 regular ports. Most VOIP phones will have an ethernet port so you can connect a computer from the phone. i.e. one cable from switch to phone and another cable from phone to PC.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40566174
Based on your comments, I better get two separate switches - one 8 port POE switch and get that hooked up to a regular 16 port gigabit switch for computers & other networking devices.
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by:akb
ID: 40566180
Sounds wise, but remember that if there is a phone next to a computer you can plug the computer into the phone.
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Ruel Tmeizeh earned 276 total points
ID: 40567442
You definitely want a higher end switch for a couple of reasons. PoE is nice, but optional---your phones will work just as well without a PoE switch, only you will have to plug each phone into power individually. If you can't stand to do that, then get a PoE switch, otherwise you can save quite a bit.

What is important is this: you want VLAN support and good QoS support. VLANs make your network more secure (albeit mildly), easier to administer (especially with phones), and able to expand. QoS support will make sure that your voice traffic is given priority and phone call audio doesn't have breakups and jitter and such.

I recommend HP Procurve and Cisco switches. There are other good ones too, but you will find no shortage of help to configure HP and Cisco models since so many people use them. This is important if you are going to be setting up the switch yourself, but also if you intend to hire someone to do it for you.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40567462
@RuhNet
"I recommend HP Procurve and Cisco switches" --> can you suggest a few models that you have deployed and liked?
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by:Ruel Tmeizeh
Ruel Tmeizeh earned 276 total points
ID: 40567480
I haven't actually deployed any HPs personally but have heard excellent things about them, and they seem to be a better bang for the buck than the Cisco gear.
With Cisco, I like any of the mainline switches---2950/2960, 3550/3560/3750, 4000/6500. I have mostly used 2950 and 3550 models---they do all I need (and more than most people need). A 2960 would suit your needs very well and last for years.

But the HP switches offer a lifetime warranty, which is very nice, and they are much cheaper. Look at the 2600 and 2800 series.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40567486
Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40589488
The HP and CISCO models are quite expensive.
I am thinking about getting a 16 port switch that comes with PoE and QoS functionality.
Can you recommend some models that are more affordable with good track record?
Also how important is it to have QoS service?

Again, I am building a 5-6 PCs with 1 file server network and will have 5-6 IP based phones.
I know that I can power the phones with AC power adapter and that way I can just plug in the phones to regular switch.
But then someone mentioned that QoS is important and the more I think about it, it would be nice to have PoE feature just in case I am going to have PoE cameras or access points down the road.
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by:Ruel Tmeizeh
Ruel Tmeizeh earned 276 total points
ID: 40591383
Hi.
If you are using VoIP then QoS is very important, you really don't want to do without it.
Now the way you can get around it is to completely separate your voice and data networks, and use a switch for each. If you do that, then you can do without QoS. But your router must support multiple networks and have two separate LAN interfaces (a consumer router won't work for this). Also, if you do it this way, you have to run two network cables to each station, one for the phone and one for the computer. In other words you can't plug the computer into the phone like you can with a one-switch QoS enabled setup.

Now, if you are willing to buy used, you can save a very large amount. You can get a good HP unit used with PoE and QoS for under $200. (If you search a bit, even less than $100). This is really what I would recommend for you.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40592146
@RuhNet,
 
As far as buying either used or new switch (for phones), does it matter if I get 100 mbps or 1000 mbps? I know in buying switches for computers, I000 mbps (or Gigabit) switch is much faster than 100 mbps switch
.
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by:Ruel Tmeizeh
Ruel Tmeizeh earned 276 total points
ID: 40592221
Yes in theory gigabit switches are faster, but in actual usage you'll never notice unless you are doing something very very bandwidth specific and demanding. A quality 100Mb switch will sustain 11 MB/second transfer rate, which is more than just about anyone ever uses except in special circumstances. (If you have to ask, you won't max it out.) Your phones will use approximately 0.1Mb maximum per phone.
So if you want to splurge and get a gigabit switch, it's fine, and if you are transferring large files back and forth often then you might notice a speed increase. Otherwise 100Mb is great and really fast. Plenty of medium sized enterprise networks have scores of systems on 100Mb networks, so either way you will be fine.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40592240
Got you. I will consider buying a used CISCO or HP 100 Mb switch that has PoE and QoS.
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by:Ruel Tmeizeh
Ruel Tmeizeh earned 276 total points
ID: 40592269
A couple things to note though---if you go with a Cisco switch technically you are supposed to sign up for a license agreement with them. The switch will work fine if you don't, but legally that's what you are supposed to do. Also be wary of the Cisco 3550 switches with PoE. They are great switches, but the PoE on them is a Cisco-specific variety called "inline power" and is not compatible with most PoE equipment, only Cisco phones and APs and such. The 3560 and 2960 switches with PoE support both inline power and the standard 802.3af PoE standard (what you want). So do be aware of those two things if you go with Cisco.

All HP and other non-Cisco switches that support PoE will have the standard 802.3af style PoE.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40592423
Thanks for the additional information (802.3af PoE standard) and I appreciate it.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Ruel Tmeizeh
ID: 40592466
No problem! Let us know if you need further help :-)
Have a great day and God bless you!
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40592631
Same to you.
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