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Switches - Managed or unmanaged - That is the question...

Posted on 2016-09-30
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Last Modified: 2016-10-15
I inherited an account of a small properties management company with 20 users and 20 various PC Workstations running Windows XP to Windows 7.  This account has been running on TWO switches:
> HP ProCurve Switch 2600 Series
> Netgear 24 Port 10/100 MZbps Fast Ethernet Switch

Our shop lives and dies by using Email, printing to a MFP office size copier, and VoIP phones (Altagen VoIP system).  Our field managers use Windows RDP to remote in to their office workstations to perform their on-site duties. And the CEO has requested that the field managers move their hardware based PCs to Hyper-V VM, to which we have purchased a HPe DL-380 server.
> Backups are ran every night.
> The property management software that we use forces us to use no higher then Windows 7 on our workstations.

Last night the Netgear switch died and I need to replace it.  The CEO and I have discussed moving the intra LAN to 1G as all of the workstations are 1GB ready.  I really like the HP ProCurve, but it is 10/100, so the plan is to purchase a new 1GB HP Switch and use the 10/100 HP Switch for lower priority devices.

If I read the HP ProCurve Switch 2600 Series spec correctly, it is a 'managed switch', which i have to be honest, we do use and really don't know much about using this level of switch.  i have done some research on 'managed' and 'unmanaged' switches, and it looks like our little shop is right in the middle of useage-scope of these two classes of switches.

Questions:
Can we gain something by going with a managed switch?
> Keeping in mind that once a network confirmation is working, it does not change.

Would we be hitting a technical ceiling if we go with the 'unmanaged' switch?
> Meaning, will we be needing to move to the managed switch in the future (I realize that is difficult question to answer as you all are familiar with our shop).

Suggestions on the implementation of the 1Gb intra-net.

Rojosho
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Question by:rojosho
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Assisted Solution

by:Jack Rider
Jack Rider earned 250 total points
ID: 41824368
Any business with more than 10 people or more than one location should have managed switches. If nothing else, they will provide a way for you to remotely troubleshoot problems in the future.
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Accepted Solution

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ArneLovius earned 250 total points
ID: 41824576
Some of the capabilities of a managed switch

  • The ability to use VLANS to segregate traffic on a switch
  • To be able to use a monitor/span port to copy traffic to a computer to capture network traffic
  • To be able to turn ports on or off
  • To be able to see whether a port is up or down
  • To be able to set negotiation for legacy devices that do not auto negotiate.

I have not installed unmanaged switches for several decades
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Author Comment

by:rojosho
ID: 41825686
Hello Jack and Arne(?),

Thank you for your honest opinions and it is obvious that it is based on experience - experience that I do not intend to ignore  :)

I have some more research and based on your input, I am going with the HPe 1920/48-Port Managed Switch.  We have had great service from the HPe and based on the product description, this class of HPe switch seems to fit our environment.

On the topic of VPN.
Done some reading on this topic and I am thinking that we can set up a VPN environment for each of our RDP users and remove the need to use the Windows Remote Desktop Connection product - Does this sound about right?
> My reading indicates that a VPN connection will created a remote user a secure connection to office LAN, but I think we will still need a connection software so that the remote users can connect to their office workstations.  This setup is done for security reasons and keeps all of our client information inside our firewall.

Comments?

Rojosho
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Expert Comment

by:ArneLovius
ID: 41826400
Please ask a new question about VPN
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Author Comment

by:rojosho
ID: 41844749
Excellent,  thank you
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Author Closing Comment

by:rojosho
ID: 41844753
excellent job - thank you
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