Bernard-Joseph Roche wrote:
> Hi Folks,
>> I am looking to buy a network switch for home. 24 ports needed but I
> might spring for the 48. It is mainly to connect the various devices
> in each room (computers, servers, printers, ps3 etc) but would like to
> buy something that will do me for the next 3-5 years. Any
>> I had been thinking of running a small VOIP at home, is this something
> I should be factoring into the switch purchase? Are there any features
> that are a must?
>> Thanks in advance,
I suspect everyone on the list has their own thoughts on who supplies
good switches but may not have the time or energy to defend that
opinion. You don't mention what your requirements for the switch are
(other than suggesting you might need 48 ports, you must have some
house!!). What are your bandwidth requirements? Will you be sending
multiple high def video streams around the house simultaneously or will
the network mostly be used for browsing? If you anticipate high traffic
demands then you should consider a gigabit switch. If you're never going
to use a gigabit switch then maybe it is a waste of money. If you're
budget is unlimited maybe you should still buy gigabit.
If you are buying a gigabit switch, be aware that not all gigabit
switches have the same throughput (look for details of the backplane
switch bandwidth and whether it is "non-blocking" or not). A concern for
some switch purchases is whether the switch will handle "jumbo" frames
(typically frames up to 9000 bytes in size) - but this may not be a
concern for a home switch unless you plan on moving large amounts of
data around your network.
You may also want to differentiate between managed and unmanaged
switches - the managed ones will provide one or more interfaces which
will allow you to monitor the behaviour of the switch and configure
various aspects of the switch's performance from what size frame to use
to whether or not to use VLANs.
Personally, I have had good experience with 3com unmanaged switches and
HP Procurve managed switches. I've found both to be well constructed
(metal casings, cool running and so on) and reliable. They also deliver
the kind of performance they claim to. SMC, D-Link, Linksys and Netgear
sell cheaper switches but I've heard mixed reports about the build
quality and performance of the switches. Saying that, they may be "good
enough" for a home switch - again, it comes back to your requirements.
If you have an unlimited budget, Cisco seem to be the preferred switch
by lots of network admins but I found them to be hugely overpriced for
what they provide (granted, I haven't had a need for the kind of L2
functionality which they apparently do a good job of).
VOIP shouldn't be a concern specifically - unless you have a requirement
to power VOIP devices over the network (using PoE) in which case you may
need to look at switches that support that.
My 5 cents or so, not sure if any of it helps.
Stephen Mulcahy Atlantic Linux http://www.atlanticlinux.ie
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