I have an automation controller that has built in 10/100 networking and uses TCP or UDP for communication with its operator interface, monitoring, data logging and programming. I had a lot of problems with the controller becoming unresponsive to any of its IP services (telnet, ftp, monitoring, HMI, etc.). I found out from the manufacturer that a busy network with PC's, printers and servers will overwhelm the simple TCP/IP stack of the controllers RTOS which causes the IP thread to hang (the CPU is only 62MHz). The controller keeps its critical threads running so its not dangerous to the machines function but without the IP interface, the operator interface is non functional and the machine cant be controlled.
I was told a managed switch would solve the problem as they only direct the packets to their intended destination instead all over the place. But I also see smart switches which advertise similar functionality at a lower cost.
So my question is can a smart switch cut down the network noise as well? I was looking at the specs on Netgear fully managed layer 2 switches as well as smart switches. From what I see, the fully managed switches have larger buffer memory. I have always liked Netgear and I can pickup a GS108T at my local Staples. Or should I opt for a real fully managed layer 2 switch?
What is a good brand of switch these days? I want to be sure that if the switch dies, I call someone to get one delivered next day.
And as a side note: the building network is connected through two 24 port dumb switches. I was told the entire building network should be upgraded to Layer 2 switches as well. Is it worth it?