Network Switches: The Most Popular Models Compared

We compared the most popular stackable switches on the market today in a feature-by-feature report. See how models from Cisco, HP, Dell, and Extreme stack up.

Network Computing Editors

September 25, 2016

10 Slides

A network switch is a multi-port network hardware device that bridges and routes data across multiple devices and corporate network segments. Switches can work at multiple network layers, including Layer 1, Layer 2, and Layer 3. They perform different operations, such as facilitating connection with end-node devices, data collection, link aggregation, and Power over Ethernet (PoE). Here we compare some of the most popular models of Layer 2 and Layer 3 Ethernet switch series implemented today, using 24 ports as a baseline.

Key functions
Our research team chose the most popular switch models in use today from the leading switch manufacturers, including Cisco, HP, Dell, and Extreme Networks. Switches selected were 24-port models, and also met baseline functional criteria listed at the end of tis report. In addition, they have these important distinctions:

  • Stacking: A group of switches stacked together, functioning as a single switch (having a single IP address) with capacity of sum of all combined switches.

  • Network bridge management: Interconnecting and efficiently managing a group of devices. The switch can learn the MAC address of each connected device, and can be useful in implementing security mechanisms or deploying resource optimization protocols.

Key usage scenarios
Stackable switches are often used in these circumstances:

  • Data center networking: To provide flexible, scalable and automated connectivity across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

  • Branch offices networks: To provide centralized deployment and management of branch core and edge devices

  • Campus LAN management: Tosecure and simplify network services across the campus

  • Virtual networking: To provideoptimal network control across physical and virtual networks (hypervisors). 

Read the details and how the vendors compare in the following slides.

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