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Guys sorry if this has been asked before. I did search. Actually reading on here has helped me learn a lot. I'm in the market for a managed switch. You might ask yourself why anyone would ever want a managed switch in their home. Well mainly for VLAN support. I'm a programmer and i want VLAN support to help me setup test scenarios. I really didn't understand the difference between the cheaper managed switches today and the more expensive ones. Thanks to server fault i do now (well at least one of them) which would be Layer 3 support so you can route traffic between VLANs which i definitely want. VLANs aren't going to do me much good unless i can communicate between them.

Anways i'm wanting to make sure i don't get a flaky switch (firmware or for whatever reason) and have wierd network issues or autoneg issues. I currently just have a 8 port trendnet gigabit switch which does well for what it is. I also want a gigabit ports that support 9k jumbo packets which i currently have in my 8 port chepo switch. I want anywhere from a 16-24 port switch. Hopefully these switches aren't to hard to administer and they have some type of web (https) interface instead of command line/shell. Remember i'm not as versed in this stuff as you guys :).

Of course i don't want to spend $400+ on a switch for my home. I have been eying the dell powerconnect series because of cost mainly. I'm looking to pick one up on ebay. You can get a 5224 for about $100, a 5324 for about $150, and a 5424 for about $300ish. Is the 5224 going to be sufficient or would you guys stear clear of it? Maybe go with the 5324? Are there any more options i have? Any help would be apprecaited.

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Gigabit layer 3 switches are expensive. David's recommendation is right on with an Open Source UNIX serving as a firewall/router. – Warner Mar 6 '10 at 3:17
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Depends. The Dell 52xx, 53xx, and 54xx switches are only layer-two switches, they cannot route between VLANs. If you are looking at the Dell line, the switch that can do routing (ie layer-three) are the 62xx (possibly 63xx now?) switches, but they are much more expensive.

Now of course you can create your own router on an external system by using Linux or xBSD or whatever. The cost of a basic PC + a 52xx switch may well be less than the cost of a 62xx switch.

If you are happy dealing with the routing yourself, I would say the 52xx will be sufficient.

Over the years I have deployed Dell 53xx and 54xx switches for use as VLAN-aware edge device concentrators, plus some 6224 switches for simple routes. For the most part have not had any significant problems with them -- we buy them new but have not had to have any replaced under the 3-year warranty they come with. We never decided if the 6224's ACL system was actually useful though, but for our current deployments we don't need them because we still have some Cisco 3750 switches.

The 53xx and 54xx have web interfaces (I have not touched a 52xx). The command-line isn't too hard to figure out, though -- usually if you do one example through the web thing, you can dump the text config to see how to do it through the CLI.

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thanks David for your excellent answer but unfortunately i've decided i bit off more than i can chew. It was a good thought but its going to take to much money/time for just a personal interest of mine (security & programming). I could at least simulate two different networks by putting a cable router or openbsd bridge in between to small seperately created networks but again i think its just to much at this point. Thanks for your help though. – coding4fun Mar 6 '10 at 3:27
+1 Good catch David...I totally missed the bit about the switch being able to route traffic. Here I use pfSense to do that job. – 3dinfluence Mar 6 '10 at 4:47

I like Cisco managed switches. If cost is consideration, as it seems to be, you might even reconsider why you want a managed switch. You can have multiple physical Local Area Networks.

For example, you buy or build a router and have it route the traffic between several switches. That's how everyone used to do it before VLANs. I have the hardware lying around to do this now, maybe you do too.

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As great as Cisco switches are, the use case user36914 presents just doesn't call for the expense. Sure, if you can pick one up refurb for a decent price, go for it, but there's no reason even a cheapie netgear wouldn't work for this. – Matt Simmons Mar 6 '10 at 3:40
There's such thing as a low cost layer 3 gigabit switch? – Warner Mar 6 '10 at 3:49

I got a used Dell PowerConnect 5324 off ebay for $80. You just have to be patient, figure out what price you're willing to pay, and use a sniping tool.

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