We (a fast growing SMB) need new switches. Currently, all our switches are unmanaged. Now we need feature of managed switches, mainly features like VLANs, Port Mirroring, SNMP, adjusting the port speed.

Currently, no fiber ports nor stackable switches are needed. Nice to have, but not a must are some PoE-ports for our WLAN accesspoints.

I know, there are three kinde of switches: unmanaged, smart managed and fully managed switches. My problem is to see if a "smart managed" switch is good enough to fit our needs or not. Due to our network equipment is mainly netgear, I searched and found those two netagear switches:

http://www.netgear.co.uk/stackable_smart_switch_gs724ts_gs748ts.php http://www.netgear.com/products/business/switches/smart-switches/GS724TP.aspx

They are "smart managed". A fully managed one would be this one:


This one is fare more expensive than the other ones. But I'm unsure if the first two switches are fitting oure needs. Can someone give me a hint?

  • What kind of userbase have you got, or maybe in other words: how many VLANs are you planning for? – DutchUncle Jan 19 '11 at 19:54
  • maybe 3-5 VLANs – Thomas Deutsch Jan 27 '11 at 13:16

There is one think in the "smart managed" product description that has me recoiling in horror and considering it "not suited for purpose" and that is the phrase "web console".

Without a mention of a telnet/ssh-based admin interface, there is no sensible way of driving the switch from code and that's a want-have for an SMB (and a must-have for a large company). A pohysical console is also a must-have.

Of course, the "fully managed" doesn't say one way or another, so I can't really get behind that either.

I think, at the end of the day, the thing to do is to purchase one of each (or, ask a suitable local vendor if you can have a loaner of each for a couple of weeks), evaluate them and see which one meets your needs and wants. Once you have that, you can then decide if the trade-off between functionality and price speaks to the cheaper or the more feature-full switch.

  • 2
    I fully agree. Managing multiple switches that only have a web interface rapidly becomes a nightmare. No way of easily scripting the push out of changes without having to parse webpages! – Niall Donegan Jan 19 '11 at 9:14

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