We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Advice on router and switch

235 Views
Last Modified: 2017-04-24
Sometimes I hate these questions, because I end up giving points to all. There is no right or wrong answer to some degree.

I am moving from SBS 2008 to Windows Server 2016 Standard R2 hosting Windows Server 2016 Essentials.

I have been using the Cisco (Linksys) RV042 router with a Linksys srw2024P switch. I did have a Cisco PIX-501, which I loved.

I have nine client computers running Win 7 Pro over a Gb network. Now that I am upgrading the server to a Dell T430 and new OS, I am trying to decide if I should upgrade the hardware. The router is about four years old. The switch, however, is over ten years old. It is a 24-port PoE switch.

I recently had an issue with speed on one of my computers -- still do. After much troubleshooting, I was worried if the switch was going bad. But, I have been told that switches tend to last a long time. I mean this one did cost $700 (not that this should insure how long it will last).

The person installing the server is recommending

Mikrotik Rackmount Router/Switch: http://amzn.to/2oEqJ8X 

He is high on Mikrotik routers now. I am not sure he would recommend that combination had I not been interested.

I know I shouldn't just go by cost, but while I don't want to spend a fortune, I do want quality hardware. The Linksys switch was $700 and the Pix was around $500. The RV042 is certainly inexpensive. And, switches get better and prices come down.

With all that said, my questions are:

1. Do experts prefer standalone hardware?
2. Do you think the model above is good enough for a medium-sized business?
3. Do you recommend other routers and switches instead (again, that's a personal preference, but I am still interested)

FYI: I have a Cisco switch just for my VoIP phones. It has PoE, so I probably don't need that.

Thanks.

Bert
Comment
Watch Question

arnoldEE Topic Advisor, IT Consultant
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Poe provides power to the phone/VoIP providing for a single wire without the need for the DC ....

Speedtest.net offers a mini version that you can place on an iis server and test your networks through put .....

The VoIP setup you should consult the VoIP provider before changing routers since you have to make sure you can disable ALG which commonly causes issues for VoIP calls.

Switching routers or any other hardware does not seem justifiable unless there is an attributable issue that you've identified.

Author

Commented:
Yes, I have PoE on both switches. I didn't have the second switch when I bought the main one. But, I ended up not doing any VLANs and just bought a second switch with PoE which, yes, provides power to the phones as you said. So, that just means any recommendations for a network/domain switch doesn't need PoE.

Yes, I used Speedtest and get almost a Gb which is crazy on all my clients to the server. Fast to each other as well. This one client is slow mostly to the server. But, that's another question for another day.

The VoIP uses a Watchguard router set up by my VoIP host. Now, kinda like you say, I wouldn't just upgrade the Watchguard. It's working fine.

And, you are right. Maybe I shouldn't change the two that are working fine. Thanks very much. :-)
mbkitmgrOwner
Commented:
Unlock this solution and get a sample of our free trial.
(No credit card required)
UNLOCK SOLUTION

Author

Commented:
Hi mbkitmgr,

Thanks! That is very helpful. I am not a big fan of all in one either. For one thing, if my router goes down, I still have LAN connectivity. I am going to look into your recommendations. Remember PoE not necessary on this switch as it is on the other one. But, if it is $100 extra, why not. My budget is around $500 for each. Which is why the $175 Mikrotek combo seems cheap. One could say you can't just go by the price, but more people would say, "You get what you pay for." Two people have told me what's wrong with the Linksys? Two things: One, is there must be better technology for less money in ten years and two, I don't trust it anymore.

I will look at your post more tomorrow. Off today.

Bert
mbkitmgrOwner

Commented:
With regards to the Linksys - Its more consumer oriented, some will disagree for sure, but after 20 years of working in IT, I see a difference all the time between consumer grade devices and business grade.
Network Architect
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Top Expert 2014
Commented:
Unlock this solution and get a sample of our free trial.
(No credit card required)
UNLOCK SOLUTION

Author

Commented:
Hi mbkitmgr and Craig,

First, thanks Craig. Great post. These posts together are going to help a lot. mb (I hope I can refer to you as mb, let me know if it is rude), I apologize for the delay. I am a doctor in the middle of Flu season, and I am lucky if I get to eat these days.

But, NOW, it is Friday night. I can Google a few of these routers and switches.

Given that a Flu season will pay for a lot of routers and switches, I don't mind spending the money. I am very surprised that the IT tech setting up the server went with his suggestion.

If you don't trust the switch for ten years, you will probably really worry about the current server which is over seven years old. I used to do the 5-year warranty rule and when it ran out, upgrade to a new server. It just never seems to be a good time. But, waiting for it to crash will be a horrible time.

Will get back to you this evening.

Bert

Author

Commented:
So, I looked at two of the Cisco switches:

Cisco SG300-28PP 28-Port Gigabit PoE+ Managed Switch

and the

Cisco Small Business SG300-28 Switch - SRW2024-K9

In reading about these, the 28PP is not quite double the price, but it definitely made for the SMB. I am sure it has more features than I need, but it would also likely be better quality overall. It does come with PoE if that ever did enter the equation. People stated that both switches come configured in Layer 2 and switching to Layer 3 either requires a reboot (something which wouldn't bother me, but one person states it will reset the switch. I guess I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to be at Layer 3, but I don't know the difference. The 28PP has CLI as well as GUI, the CLI would only be useful for my IT guy. Although I did finally figure out the CLI for my PIX-501 router way back, and I must say it was more rewarding. Plus, try getting help on EE using a GUI for a PIX. But, I don't use that anyway.

The less expensive 2024 would maybe be enough. No CLI, no PoE. Not sure about the other one, but one person states that firmware can be done by GUI but needs TFTP for boot loader.

Which reminds me, maybe my switch needs its firmware updated?

One thing that makes me nervous about the 2024 is the SRW part of the name. Same as mine, which is LinkSys. And, I am pretty sure Cisco bought LinkSys. It's funny, because I own four of the RV042 routers, which state they are Cisco, and quite a few people on here agreed, but I have a friend on here who is network IT for 35 years -- I have worked with him via email since opening my account in 2005, and he swears it is LinkSys.
arnoldEE Topic Advisor, IT Consultant
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019
Commented:
Unlock this solution and get a sample of our free trial.
(No credit card required)
UNLOCK SOLUTION

Author

Commented:
Hi Arnold,

Thanks for that information. Now it makes sense. I guess Cisco knows what they are doing business-wise, but it makes it confusing. Sounds like my friend was correct about the RV. Just strange that they write Cisco on it (not in small type either) when it's a Linksys product. It almost sounds like false advertising.
mbkitmgrOwner

Commented:
Cisco referred to Linksys as it home line of Devices, and sold it to Belkin.  http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/about/corporate-strategy-office/acquisitions/belkin.html

Author

Commented:
Thanks. I guess I will just be careful around Linksys. Now the SRW2024P was a damned good switch for me.

Does anyone know how many ports the PP28 (SG300) has for PoE of the 28?

One reason I want to get a new router as well, is I want to set it up and test it before I go offline on the other subnet.
arnoldEE Topic Advisor, IT Consultant
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
The device is a 24 POE with 4 uplink ports.

All relevant info is on the quick install guide along with the EOL notice, end of sale 5/31/2017 ..... end of phone support, 05/31/2018, total support end 5/22
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/switches/sg300-28-28-port-gigabit-managed-switch/model.html

Author

Commented:
Thanks. Damn, I went and read the brochure and nearly forgot to write back. Looks like the 28PP is all I would need. 180 watts. I don't think I need 300 watts like the MP has.

I can certainly find the cheapest online store, but if you know it off the top of your head....
arnoldEE Topic Advisor, IT Consultant
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
It looks as though the SG and SRW  a.... from the linksys business line..... ref quick install..... SG's POE ports are 10/100/1000 while the SRW has 10/100 poe PORTS
The replacement product is the 10 G uplinks SG550XG-24F
IMHO, unless you've identified an issue with the existing, or you are going through your normal upgrade cycle (to avoid Murphy's LAW).....

The price is in the 550-600 range in the US

if you are in the upgrade cycle, guess buy the new, sell the old while they might still have some value...... after the burn in period of the new with no issues....


The SG550XG-24F is in the 2000.

Author

Commented:
I didn't quite comprehend all that. But, I think the SG300-28PP is a Cisco Small Business Product. I am confused about the replacement product. I could afford the 22PP but not the other, or at least I wouldn't pay that much for my small network.

The only question remaining is I think it comes default at Level 2, so moving to Level 3 right when you install it makes sense. I saw where the firmware can be tricky on one Cisco I saw, but I didn't find it if were on this one. I guess the one had two firmwares, one for the switch and one for the boot loader, and the latter needed TFTP.

Thanks!
arnoldEE Topic Advisor, IT Consultant
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Does your existing switch a gig (10/100/1000) or 10/100? Depending or your setup, you need a managed level 3 switch.

With all their.......

Author

Commented:
10/100/1000 Thanks.
arnoldEE Topic Advisor, IT Consultant
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Since the sg300 is nearing eol for sale you might get a good price deal to carry through the five year upgrade cycle.

I would suggest getting one thing at a time to avoid a situation that has an issue indiscernible as to which component is the cause or the combination has contributing factors.

Your existing setup should dictate the future setup in the event there are deficiencies or issues, those shoukd be addressed during the upgrade/transition cycle taking account that demand network might have increased over the time...

Author

Commented:
Some very good points. Will get back to you today, I hope. The other side, though, is I am installing a brand new server with an entirely new conceptual design as you know. Hyper-V, etc. I don't trust my switch. And, I kinda want to configure a new router and not the old. Actually, the router is the least of my worries, so you may have a point there.

It's difficult, because my friend (37 years in the biz, networking MVP, MCITP -- the whole schmeil -- I say this just to differentiate him from a friend down the street) swears that even the PP28 is Linksys Business Class. I have bough four RV042s, another Cisco switch and, of course, two PIX-501s. I believe the PIXs were the only true Cisco products. If it's true that the PP28 is not what I would call pure "Cisco" then I think Cisco and I will part ways. Even the RV042s, which have been good routers say Cisco all over it, and it is Linksys. Linksys this division or that division. It should proudly display Linksys, a small business division of Cisco. Guess I got back to you sooner than I thought, lol.

Thanks for your help!
arnoldEE Topic Advisor, IT Consultant
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
If you trace back, Cisco aside from routers, core switches, got into different segments through acquisitions.
"Pure" in this context is a relative term.

Have the same tendencies, so I try to provide suggestions/recomendations that provide the most value.

Is your existing/planned setup separates data systems from your phone/VoIP systems by physically separate switches, or using a single switch/vlan.

Do you have hyper-v already running on which you can setup a small Linux VM if you currently do not have in your environment. Lamp with cacti from cacti.net with your switches configured to slow SNMP polling could be used to graphically represent the switch port network utilization......

Opennms ....

The addition of the new T430 server does not by that fact increase your network demand to necessitate the replacement of your switch or your router (outside the age/upgrade consideration).

Author

Commented:
My VoIP system is completely separate via a Cisco switch :). I don't use my VLAN capability. It has its own separate router. The famouse RV042. Hyper-V is running Essentials and has the two VMs which come with it. The server is not yet in production.

My referring to the T430 has nothing to do with needing better hardware. It's just that I will be starting completely new, and it is a good time to replace hardware. As to the router, it is fine. I could do a backup of its config -- set up the new config -- do a backup, etc. I am not completely sure why the company wants to change the domain name other than Active Directory or maybe due to keeping an SBS server on the network. So, just figured could just start with a new router and continue the LAN on the old RV042.

I may keep the switch. Had a port problem, and I figured 10 years is a long time.

The Linksys SRW2024P has QoS and VLAN and PoE and has handled everything just fine. So, I am rather certain the SG300 Cis-sys (my coined name for the CISco -- linkSYS would be more than adequate.

I have two good friends in the business. One swears by Lenovo servers, the other by HP servers, and I love Dell servers. I I partially bought a PowerEdge 2900 or the T430 due to the name, and after I found out it was actually an HP; I wouldn't be happy.

I have just always considered Cisco to be one of the best in routers, so the name is why I purchased the RVs, the VoIP switch, etc. We all do that. We all have our favorite brands. I buy BMWs or Lexus. I may decide between the 340xi or the 5-series, but I know it is a German automobile, and it is a BMW. I will probably end up buying it, and I am sorry I am beating a dead horse, but I don't know how they even get away with it.

Thanks as always for your input. It's very helpful. I know what OpenDNS is. Not sure what nms is?
arnoldEE Topic Advisor, IT Consultant
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Opennms is a network management system to provide information on use, etc.internal system sets up in a local Linux (old retired workstation on which Linux, Apache, mysql, php) could be setup ......

Often the preference is based on past experience, I.e. Bought component A by X, and it failed before I was ready to replace it, bought Same component from Y and it lasted, so Y is the preferred for those types of components....

Lenovo, former IBM line of business....

Author

Commented:
Thanks. Yeah, I am all over Lenovo. Every client computer I have is Lenovo. Super quiet. I like them a lot. You are spot on when it comes to experience. And, in my business, it would be called anecdotal. But, my very first server with SBS 2003 was an HP. Now granted, I knew nothing and got the HP M110, which was way too small. But, it had all sorts of problems. HP probably should have just sent me a new one. But, I have had HP clients before, and they are the kind of printers.

Author

Commented:
As I said, it is a tough question to answer right or wrong. Craig got the nod mainly because he steered me in the SG series. I ended up going with the SG200 as I don't need a level 3 switch, and I also don't need PoE when I really think about it.

Thanks for all the help.

Gain unlimited access to on-demand training courses with an Experts Exchange subscription.

Get Access
Why Experts Exchange?

Experts Exchange always has the answer, or at the least points me in the correct direction! It is like having another employee that is extremely experienced.

Jim Murphy
Programmer at Smart IT Solutions

When asked, what has been your best career decision?

Deciding to stick with EE.

Mohamed Asif
Technical Department Head

Being involved with EE helped me to grow personally and professionally.

Carl Webster
CTP, Sr Infrastructure Consultant
Empower Your Career
Did You Know?

We've partnered with two important charities to provide clean water and computer science education to those who need it most. READ MORE

Ask ANY Question

Connect with Certified Experts to gain insight and support on specific technology challenges including:

  • Troubleshooting
  • Research
  • Professional Opinions
Unlock the solution to this question.
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Please provide your email to receive a sample view!

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

OR

Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.