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Andne

NetGear Smart vs. Managed vs. Cisco Small Business vs. ?

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Andne

I am looking at upgrading my home network some (need a bigger core switch for the panel) as well as am trying to find hardware to add wireless to my church's basement.  So far, I use Netgear smart switches (I have a GS716T, GS110TP, and GS108T) at home and have been quite happy with them.  I tried to split my network into two VLANs a while ago and while it works ok, there's a couple problems, mostly that the media centers aren't happy about not being able to see the WS2012R2 Essentials server.  Also, when I am able to get devices to talk between the VLANs I'm routing through my pfSense router, which probably isn't ideal.

 

I am thinking I want a core switch that is capable of inter-VLAN routing in order to get wire speeds between the VLANs.  I use a POE-powered Netgear access point, so I need POE power from that switch as well.  This is where I start to get confused.  I have been mostly happy with Netgear so I've been looking at their offerings.  However, it looks like some of the Cisco Small Business (SG300 I think) may be slightly more capable for less or similar cost.  Does anyone have any experience with their equipment?  Does it work pretty well and isn't too crazy to set up?  I seem to find mixed opinions online.  Mostly here I'm asking for recommendations what hardware I should be looking at for what I want to experiment with.

 

Also, I'm looking for some new equipment for my church, but their needs are a bit simpler I think.  The cable I'm connecting to is terminated in a wall-mounted rack of audio equipment that has 2U empty in it.  I should double check with the guys that installed that equipment (local A/V systems company), but I'm hoping I can use those for a patch panel and rack-mount switch.  I want POE there in order to power the access point (makes it easier to shove up in the ceiling somewhere) and maybe a repeater (160? meter run back to the office, probably ok, but would be more 'correct' to put one in the middle.  There's a good place for one if needed) and would like VLANs so that I can create a guest vs. parish network at some point (I don't want just anyone who rents out the hall to be able to find the WHS 2011 file server), but I'll have to upgrade the main office switch in order to support that as well.  I don't see any reason to need inter-VLAN routing, so I suspect the Netgear Smart switches would be capable enough here.  One challenge I'm having is a lot of smaller switches that I think can do it are not rack-capable.  At the moment, 8 ports is more than enough, probably only need 2-4 in the next couple years.

 

I suspect it would help my own sanity if I were to use at least the same brand and family of switches in my home network as I use there, so that I don't have to remember how to configure two different systems.  I'm a software engineer by day, not a networking guy, so I don't get much exposure to this stuff otherwise.

 

Am I completely off base here?  Are there other types/brands of equipment I should be looking at for this?  I saw some Engenius stuff that might meet some needs, but the reviews on it are quite mixed.  It seems to me like I could probably 'make it work' with some really cheap (sub $100 hardware), but I don't feel like that is really a good solution and will probably cause more trouble in the long run.  Now that people know the cable run is done they seem to be getting a bit antsy to have their internet access down there (even though I have no clue what they plan to do with it) and so keep asking me what do we need to finish the project.

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itGeeks

I am looking at upgrading my home network some (need a bigger core switch for the panel) as well as am trying to find hardware to add wireless to my church's basement.  So far, I use Netgear smart switches (I have a GS716T, GS110TP, and GS108T) at home and have been quite happy with them.  I tried to split my network into two VLANs a while ago and while it works ok, there's a couple problems, mostly that the media centers aren't happy about not being able to see the WS2012R2 Essentials server.  Also, when I am able to get devices to talk between the VLANs I'm routing through my pfSense router, which probably isn't ideal.

 

I am thinking I want a core switch that is capable of inter-VLAN routing in order to get wire speeds between the VLANs.  I use a POE-powered Netgear access point, so I need POE power from that switch as well.  This is where I start to get confused.  I have been mostly happy with Netgear so I've been looking at their offerings.  However, it looks like some of the Cisco Small Business (SG300 I think) may be slightly more capable for less or similar cost.  Does anyone have any experience with their equipment?  Does it work pretty well and isn't too crazy to set up?  I seem to find mixed opinions online.  Mostly here I'm asking for recommendations what hardware I should be looking at for what I want to experiment with.

 

Also, I'm looking for some new equipment for my church, but their needs are a bit simpler I think.  The cable I'm connecting to is terminated in a wall-mounted rack of audio equipment that has 2U empty in it.  I should double check with the guys that installed that equipment (local A/V systems company), but I'm hoping I can use those for a patch panel and rack-mount switch.  I want POE there in order to power the access point (makes it easier to shove up in the ceiling somewhere) and maybe a repeater (160? meter run back to the office, probably ok, but would be more 'correct' to put one in the middle.  There's a good place for one if needed) and would like VLANs so that I can create a guest vs. parish network at some point (I don't want just anyone who rents out the hall to be able to find the WHS 2011 file server), but I'll have to upgrade the main office switch in order to support that as well.  I don't see any reason to need inter-VLAN routing, so I suspect the Netgear Smart switches would be capable enough here.  One challenge I'm having is a lot of smaller switches that I think can do it are not rack-capable.  At the moment, 8 ports is more than enough, probably only need 2-4 in the next couple years.

 

I suspect it would help my own sanity if I were to use at least the same brand and family of switches in my home network as I use there, so that I don't have to remember how to configure two different systems.  I'm a software engineer by day, not a networking guy, so I don't get much exposure to this stuff otherwise.

 

Am I completely off base here?  Are there other types/brands of equipment I should be looking at for this?  I saw some Engenius stuff that might meet some needs, but the reviews on it are quite mixed.  It seems to me like I could probably 'make it work' with some really cheap (sub $100 hardware), but I don't feel like that is really a good solution and will probably cause more trouble in the long run.  Now that people know the cable run is done they seem to be getting a bit antsy to have their internet access down there (even though I have no clue what they plan to do with it) and so keep asking me what do we need to finish the project.

For access points have a look at Open-Mesh http://www.open-mesh.com/ Been using them for the past 2 or so years and I have been very happy with them. Also have a look at this thread http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/9901-open-mesh-has-released-there-new-mr1750-dual-band-80211ac-access-point/

and pcdocs review http://thedocsworld.net/mr1750-ac-wireless-access-point/

 

I am sure others will post as well with recommendations on switches, Ect. I also use several Netgear switches including there NetGear GS724T - 24 Port Managed Switch & Netgear 8 Port Switch (GSS108E) and for the most part been happy with them.

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nrf

if you are using vlans yet want to interconnect them, I am not aware of a smart switch that would do that. you could perhaps use one of your servers via 'internet sharing' but the whole idea of letting one vlan mix with another seems counter to the intent of the feature....

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Andne

I know I need a Layer 3 Managed switch to do that.  The intent is to have my servers mostly isolated from the rest of the network, but still allow certain services to connect through to them.  I'm not really sure if it's a valid use for that functionality or not, on a large scale I suspect it's done by using routers to partition the network into subnets, but I really don't want to spend the kind of money I think that would cost me.

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itGeeks

I know I need a Layer 3 Managed switch to do that.  The intent is to have my servers mostly isolated from the rest of the network, but still allow certain services to connect through to them.  I'm not really sure if it's a valid use for that functionality or not, on a large scale I suspect it's done by using routers to partition the network into subnets, but I really don't want to spend the kind of money I think that would cost me.

I personally think trying to do this they way your thinking is going to get messy at best. What services are you wanting the guest network to have access to? Also will the guest network be WiFi only or both wired/WiFi?

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Andne

The Layer 3 switch is for my home network, I know that's going to be messy, but that's half the fun of having such hardware at home.

 

The church network I don't plan to have any inter-VLAN routing on.  My (eventual) plan is two VLANs, both going to the router and out through there.  There's nothing on the church network that the guest VLAN would need access to.  I think that it will be WiFi only to start, there aren't any accessible network jacks in that area.

 

Sorry for the confusion, I'm looking at upgrades to two different networks with different wants/needs at the same time.

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itGeeks

The Layer 3 switch is for my home network, I know that's going to be messy, but that's half the fun of having such hardware at home.

 

The church network I don't plan to have any inter-VLAN routing on.  My (eventual) plan is two VLANs, both going to the router and out through there.  There's nothing on the church network that the guest VLAN would need access to.  I think that it will be WiFi only to start, there aren't any accessible network jacks in that area.

 

Sorry for the confusion, I'm looking at upgrades to two different networks with different wants/needs at the same time.

I think for the sake of sanity and for use to give you better advice please make separate threads for each place your trying to solve a problem with so we have a clear understanding of each location and what your trying to accomplish at each location, This will keep the thread neat and clean giving advise only for that location with your intended goal. Wrapping up multiple projects with multiple locations make the thread very messy.

The Layer 3 switch is for my home network, I know that's going to be messy, but that's half the fun of having such hardware at home.

 

The church network I don't plan to have any inter-VLAN routing on.  My (eventual) plan is two VLANs, both going to the router and out through there.  There's nothing on the church network that the guest VLAN would need access to.  I think that it will be WiFi only to start, there aren't any accessible network jacks in that area.

 

Sorry for the confusion, I'm looking at upgrades to two different networks with different wants/needs at the same time.If the guest 

If the guest network is going to be WiFi only at the church then you don't need to create your own VLAN threw the router or switch if you use the great product I told you about for the access point Open-Mesh because Open-Mesh can handle this task for you threw the settings. In fact Open-Mesh even has a LAN port on them that you could connect a regular un-managed switch to and tell Open-Mesh not to allow access to your private LAN but only the guest LAN, This would be just another way to handle what your trying to do.

Edited by itGeeks
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Andne

I think for the sake of sanity and for use to give you better advice please make separate threads for each place your trying to solve a problem with so we have a clear understanding of each location and what your trying to accomplish at each location, This will keep the thread neat and clean giving advise only for that location with your intended goal. Wrapping up multiple projects with multiple locations make the thread very messy.

The main reason I posted them together is I would like to use same/similar hardware in both locations so that what I learn at home I can apply to the parish network as well.

 

 

If the guest network is going to be WiFi only at the church then you don't need to create your own VLAN threw the router or switch if you use the great product I told you about for the access point Open-Mesh because Open-Mesh can handle this task for you threw the settings.

I would think that the router and switch still need to be aware of the VLAN so that the connections can be routed correctly.  The Open-Mesh hardware may be able to separate out the wireless networks, but how does that isolate the guest wireless from the parish LAN unless the router is also aware.  I suppose the switch could maybe be dumb since it'll just forward the packets along anyways, but I think then I'd basically have every endpoint on the network connected to a trunk port which I assume is not a good thing.  Even if that works and the access point does some filtering, I'd still be worried that without the router tagging incoming packets for the guest VLAN, I wouldn't have proper segregation between the guest and parish networks.

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GotNoTime

I tried to split my network into two VLANs a while ago and while it works ok, there's a couple problems, mostly that the media centers aren't happy about not being able to see the WS2012R2 Essentials server.

What topology is your network? It sounds like you shouldn't be splitting it if you're getting issues with devices not being happy that they're not on the same subnet as another device.

 

I am thinking I want a core switch that is capable of inter-VLAN routing in order to get wire speeds between the VLANs.

If you don't need fully managed and static L3 routing is fine then the HP 1910-24G is pretty nice. You get a lifetime warranty on it.

 

I use a POE-powered Netgear access point, so I need POE power from that switch as well.

If you only have 1 PoE device then getting a PoE injector will save you a lot of money. If you do want it built into the switch then the HP 1910-24G-POE should be fine unless you need PoE+.

 

I have been mostly happy with Netgear so I've been looking at their offerings.

Personally, I've never been that impressed with the managed or smart managed range from Netgear. The interface has always been a bit weird, the CLI has been like a bad Cisco clone and I've had several switches fail in odd ways. Netgear customer support has always been great though. No problems at all getting replacements.

 

I like the metal cased unmanaged Netgear switches though. No problems at all with them. The metal case makes them very robust and no issues with overheating.

 

However, it looks like some of the Cisco Small Business (SG300 I think) may be slightly more capable for less or similar cost.  Does anyone have any experience with their equipment?

I've never used the Small Business range from Cisco. I've only used the large Catalyst switches from them.

 

Also, I'm looking for some new equipment for my church, but their needs are a bit simpler I think. The cable I'm connecting to is terminated in a wall-mounted rack of audio equipment that has 2U empty in it.

You need to check the depth of the rack. Audio equipment racks tend to be very shallow. The HP switches I've mentioned are all quite shallow but you'll still need to check.

 

I want POE there in order to power the access point (makes it easier to shove up in the ceiling somewhere)

Same again about a PoE injector. It'll save you a lot of money if you can avoid getting PoE built into the switch itself.

 

There's a good place for one if needed) and would like VLANs so that I can create a guest vs. parish network at some point (I don't want just anyone who rents out the hall to be able to find the WHS 2011 file server), but I'll have to upgrade the main office switch in order to support that as well.  I don't see any reason to need inter-VLAN routing, so I suspect the Netgear Smart switches would be capable enough here.

HP 1810-24Gv2 is a L2 switch with the same lifetime warranty. The HP 1910-24G is only slightly more expensive though.

 

One challenge I'm having is a lot of smaller switches that I think can do it are not rack-capable. At the moment, 8 ports is more than enough, probably only need 2-4 in the next couple years.

HP 1810-8Gv2 for L2 or 1910-8G for static L3. They're little desktop switches. You'll need to make sure nobody fiddles with the wiring though since some ports will be trunk ports. Edited by GotNoTime

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GotNoTime

I would think that the router and switch still need to be aware of the VLAN so that the connections can be routed correctly.

That is how I'd do it. The WiFi APs broadcast 2 SSIDs and it is VLAN aware. The main SSID goes to the main VLAN and the guest SSID goes to the guest VLAN. The WiFi AP is plugged into a configured trunk port on your switch. The rest of the switch ports are trunks to other APs or switches and untagged ports assigned to the appropriate VLAN. It is very cleanly separated using standard features with no surprises in the future and the ability to change parts of the system for another model or brand without breaking horribly.

 

Your router will need to have VLAN support and the ability to have multiple DHCP servers. I assume it'd all be NATed anyway and you don't have any publicly routed IP blocks.

Edited by GotNoTime

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