SMC's TigerSwitch 6752AL2

This new workgroup switch is port-rich and dirt cheap, but it's not perfect.

May 20, 2005

2 Min Read
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Stalking a TigerSwitch

In our Syracuse University Real-World Labs®, I pointed InterWorking Labs' SilverCreek Pro SP Edition 9.0.5 at the switch to test the latter's MIB compliance with SNMP 1 and 2c. Under version 1, it passed 37 of 45 tests; under version 2c, it passed 72 of 80 tests. If you have an SNMP or RMON management environment, the TigerSwitch will fit but provide a less-than-perfect picture of your network's health, so thoroughly test the TigerSwitch before you rely on it.

tigerswitch smc6752al2 10/100 and 10/100/1000 with combo ports, $899.99.SMC Networks,(800) SMC-4YOU,(949) 679-8000.

I attached Spirent's SMB-600B chassis (version 2.60) with a LAN-3325A Dual Media Ethernet Terametrics XD (four-port Gigabit Ethernet) card to the TigerSwitch. Using Spirent's SmartFlow (version 4.50.087), I dedicated two of the four ports to passing Layer 2 100Base-TX traffic through the TigerSwitch and wedded the other two ports to passing Layer 2 1000Base-TX traffic through the switch. The throughput tests started out slowly, utilizing 10 percent of available bandwidth. Every 30 seconds, bandwidth use increased by increments of 10 percent until it peaked at 100 percent.

The 10/100Base-TX ports and the 1000Base-TX ports had a difficult time initializing ports for end nodes. In the first 30 seconds of testing, using only 10 percent of available bandwidth per port, the TigerSwitch dropped about 65 percent of the frames passing through both the 100Base-TX and the 1000Base-TX ports.With STA (Spanning Tree Algorithm) enabled on the TigerSwitch, ports go through listening and learning before forwarding on start-up. STA is designed to prevent loops in the network. When I disabled STA, the TigerSwitch didn't lose any frames as bandwidth utilization climbed to 100 percent. Another work-around is to set individual port configuration to "edge port" so it will automatically forward packets for ports connected to end nodes.

Interestingly enough, the same tests applied to a more expensive Extreme Networks Black Diamond switch (Module G8T 51033) with STA enabled didn't yield any start-up performance costs per port, proving you get what you pay for.Eye of the Tiger

The TigerSwitch Web interface is very clean and easy to navigate. Without effort, I set up DSA and RSA host keys to enable SSH (Secure Shell) access. I also restricted management access with an IP filter. 802.1X port authentication with RADIUS or TACACS is supported, along with many of the same features found in data-center-class switches.

Sean Doherty is a senior technology editor and lawyer based at our Syracuse University Real-World Labs®. Write to him at [email protected].

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