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Your Favorite Small 5 to 8 Port Managed Switches for L2 VLAN Segmentation?
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Your Favorite Small 5 to 8 Port Managed Switches for L2 VLAN Segmentation?

emgemg Member

I am looking for your favorite low cost managed gigabit switch models ranging from 5-8 ports that support true VLANs (802.1Q).

-> Bonus if the switch is low power with no fans, etc.
-> Bonus if the switch supports PoE or better, such as PoE+ or PoE++.

Feel free to suggest older models that meet requirements. I do not mind buying used equipment. Recommend them, too!

D-link? Netgear? Something else? Recommended models?

REJECTS:

  • Some ultra-cheap switches claim to support "VLAN", but all they do is isolate individual ports from each other except for the "LAN port". I do NOT want that.
  • 100baseT, aka "Fast Ethernet" - not fast enough. Must support 1000baseT gigabit speeds.
  • Anything that requires you to install and run a special app or application on a phone or computer to manage. Must be a "generic" browser-type interface.
  • Mislabeled crap. I am seeing more deceptive sales tactics than ever before. I just bought a used switch where the photos all show a better model, but the fine print down low lists the model they sent, carefully placed where it is not likely to be noticed. They refunded my money without making me go through the return shipping process, but I note that the listing is still up.

Comments

  • emgemg Member
    edited August 16

    Thank you! I looked, and it does what I need at a reasonable price. I ordered five of them (for different rooms) and one 8 port version (for the office).

    Adding: They do not have Power over Ethernet (PoE), but I can defer that to another day.

  • ralfralf Member
    edited August 16

    Surprising if they don't support PoE given how much of the page is devoted to talking about it (and presumably is what the pe suffix on the model number is for).

    I believe TP-Link also have some 2.5G switches now that were well reviewed on STH, which might be worth a look. Even if your machines aren't set up for that, it'd still be of benefit for the links between the switches.

  • SGrafSGraf Member, Patron Provider

    If its just "1G" and you dont need a 10G port,look at S2800S-8T2F-P from fscom ( https://www.fs.com/products/129513.html ).

    Thats:
    1. 8 x PoE+
    2. Vlan Support (801.2Q)
    3. Can be managed by browser or cli (ssh or telnet).
    4. Fanless
    5. Not used (so no deceptive fotos,...)

    If you want a higher power rating but can live with a fan then you can save about 10 usd with the S2805S-8TF-P ( https://www.fs.com/products/150492.html?attribute=7949&id=330198 )

    Thanked by 1emg
  • emgemg Member
    edited August 16

    My error. I did NOT order the one recommended by Timbo, although his looks similar and is a great choice that fit my requirements the best, other than lowest cost. The TL-SG105PE model recommended by Timbo includes Power over Ethernet and sells for $59.99 each.

    I bought five TL-SG105E switches (without PoE) for $18.95 each.

    That deal is gone, but you can get the TL-SG105E model that I bought at the regular price for $24.99 (Reminder: No PoE).

    I also bought an 8 port TL-SG108E ($29.99) for the office. Also no PoE.

    Thanks to @SGraf for their recommendations, but those switches cost over $100, and total cost was a big consideration.

  • MrEdMrEd Member

    @emg said:

    • Anything that requires you to install and run a special app or application on a phone or computer to manage. Must be a "generic" browser-type interface.

    TL-SG10*E (I have 2 8-port ones) needs software to be installed on your machine. I bought these to try and play around with VLANs, installed the software, connected to one of it, but never did anything with configuration... Up till now I had no time for this. Other than that, at home they work fine. Somewhere like 2 years already - no problems at all ;)

    Thanked by 1emg
  • rm_rm_ Member
    edited August 16

    TP-Link WDR3600/WDR4300/WDR4310. These are 11ac WiFi routers which support OpenWRT well, and as such can work as perfectly good VLAN-capable switches. In fact I now have WiFi disabled entirely on one.

    As for why, I decided to not run any closed-source appliance as the cornerstone of my network. Firstly, out of a privacy/security concern, and secondly I faced some stupid bugs with D-Link managed switches, and there was no recourse other than to E-Mail support and wait for years.

    Yes, even though in theory some of those D-Link or even your SG105E are based on FOSS under the hood, often the source code provided is much older than the current firmware revisions, or it is not explained how, or not all tooling is provided, to compile and flash a modified version.

    So using something OpenWRT-supporting instead fits nicely as the solution to it all for me.

    Thanked by 1emg
  • toppertopper Member

    Currently using GS108Ev3,

    • 8 ports, no PoE
    • fanless
    • set portbase/802.1q VLAN through web panel easily.

    https://www.netgear.com/business/wired/switches/plus/gs108e/

    Thanked by 1emg
  • emgemg Member

    @MrEd said:

    @emg said:

    • Anything that requires you to install and run a special app or application on a phone or computer to manage. Must be a "generic" browser-type interface.

    TL-SG10*E (I have 2 8-port ones) needs software to be installed on your machine. I bought these to try and play around with VLANs, installed the software, connected to one of it, but never did anything with configuration... Up till now I had no time for this. Other than that, at home they work fine. Somewhere like 2 years already - no problems at all ;)

    Based on the manuals I downloaded, there is a web interface. The 8 port switch is due to arrive later today, the 5 port switches tomorrow.

  • emgemg Member
    edited August 16

    @topper said:
    Currently using GS108Ev3,

    • 8 ports, no PoE
    • fanless
    • set portbase/802.1q VLAN through web panel easily.

    https://www.netgear.com/business/wired/switches/plus/gs108e/

    They are up to "v5" now. The TL-GS108E that I ordered is probably a v5. The five discounted TL-GS-105E switches are v4. They have a printed label "unmanaged" on the front even though they are managed.

    The v5 version says managed, but they look otherwise identical. I learned this morning that the latest firmware download for the v4 is 2018, but the v5 has a 2022 download. Either way, I assume they will work on my simple network, I hope. :-)

    Thanked by 1topper
  • Netgear and TP-Link have similar models on the low end and I think both have lifetime warranty. They trade off on lowest price from time to time.

    I'd give TP-Link the edge. Netgear had an earlier model that had speed issues that I'm not sure they fixed in later firmware.

    And while installing management apps usually sucks, the benefit is usually less CPU overhead by the switch and less impact on switch throughput while using configuration in webGUI.

    Lastly, 2.5Gbps seems to be coming standard in latest chipsets and will be commodity before 10Gbps will. Put a 2.5Gbps Trendnet switch into Keepa/Amazon and snag it when it becomes a crazy deal you can't pass up.

  • old switches with a nice discount, if you buy new ones, you are an idiot.
    Unless you are Equinix/etc.

  • rm_rm_ Member

    @TimboJones said: impact on switch throughput while using configuration in webGUI

    Web GUI does not impact switch throughput at all, since all packet forwarding is done at line-speed in hardware by the ASIC, and the (weak) CPU running web GUI only reconfigures it once you click "save settings" (and on boot).

  • @rm_ said:

    @TimboJones said: impact on switch throughput while using configuration in webGUI

    Web GUI does not impact switch throughput at all, since all packet forwarding is done at line-speed in hardware by the ASIC, and the (weak) CPU running web GUI only reconfigures it once you click "save settings" (and on boot).

    One would think, but previous experiences (v2 model) tell otherwise. You can Google Netgear and slow WebGUI or slowdown if you wanted to dig more.

    These are managed but the cheap, economical switches with corners cut, not the full featured 24-port switches with more features.

  • rm_rm_ Member
    edited August 19

    @TimboJones said: One would think, but previous experiences (v2 model) tell otherwise. You can Google Netgear and slow WebGUI or slowdown if you wanted to dig more.

    I see tons of reports of the web UI itself being slow, but none that accessing web UI affects the forwarding performance of the switch. As said before, the CPU running that UI has nothing to do with the actual packet forwarding on switches. On routers, yes, absolutely, the UI and routing are done by the same CPU (even if with a bit of h/w acceleration sometimes).

    @TimboJones said: These are managed but the cheap, economical switches with corners cut, not the full featured 24-port switches with more features.

    It is not possible that there would be a corner to cut, by making it do Gbit switching in software. Cheap and low-power CPUs that these use would not handle even a single Gbit, not to mention many independent Gbit streams between multiple pairs of ports at the same time, as even the cheapest switches can easily do.

  • @rm_ said:

    @TimboJones said: One would think, but previous experiences (v2 model) tell otherwise. You can Google Netgear and slow WebGUI or slowdown if you wanted to dig more.

    I see tons of reports of the web UI itself being slow, but none that accessing web UI affects the forwarding performance of the switch. As said before, the CPU running that UI has nothing to do with the actual packet forwarding on switches. On routers, yes, absolutely, the UI and routing are done by the same CPU (even if with a bit of h/w acceleration sometimes).

    @TimboJones said: These are managed but the cheap, economical switches with corners cut, not the full featured 24-port switches with more features.

    It is not possible that there would be a corner to cut, by making it do Gbit switching in software. Cheap and low-power CPUs that these use would not handle even a single Gbit, not to mention many independent Gbit streams between multiple pairs of ports at the same time, as even the cheapest switches can easily do.

    It was well discussed on Netgear forums years ago when I ran into the problem and RMA'd two v2 switches and got v3's in return.

    The switch doesn't just need to forward packets, it also needs to check if the packet was meant for its webGUI, and that affects the packet processing.

    And it wasn't expected, it got through QA and found in the field by users.

    I'm not saying all models have this problem, just some models. I also don't know if it was eventually fixed in firmware. Who knows, maybe it was defective silicon on certain V2 models.

  • rm_rm_ Member
    edited August 19

    @TimboJones said: it also needs to check if the packet was meant for its webGUI

    Network-wise, for the switch engine the "web UI" (or actually the management CPU), is nothing more than another client (seen as a MAC address on a port), except not on any of its externally-accessible ports, but an internal one. And checking its MAC table for which of the ports to send the packet to, is just what it normally does all the time, not any additional load.

    Oh and of course that CPU could even crash/lock-up/hang, and the switching will continue to work, with all the VLANs and such still working just fine. I believe anyone using managed switches for a significant period of time would certainly have seen this happen at some point.

  • emgemg Member
    edited August 19

    @luckypenguin said:
    old switches with a nice discount, if you buy new ones, you are an idiot.
    Unless you are Equinix/etc.

    The used switches (with 802.1Q VLAN support) in the ultra-cheap range were priced close to new switches anyway. The 5 port ones ($18.95) were refurbished. I found them on Amazon, but bought all five that were available. One was bad out of the box - it would not boot, so I returned it. I bought the 8 port switch new - I could not find one comparable or better for less.

    There are a lot of good used managed switches in the $50-$100 range, but they are way overkill for my needs. I helped a friend buy and setup a large, rack-mounted HP ProCurve switch for $50. It is a great switch and it is very capable. It is also very large, way too loud with many always-on cooling fans, and it probably draws way too much power for a small office closet. It works great in a business computer room with racks.

  • emgemg Member

    Update:

    I got the switches deployed, but they are currently operating as if they were unmanaged switches.

    @TimboJones was right. You get what you pay for.

    Configuring these cheapest-of-the-cheap managed switches is not intuitive. The documentation is poorly written. The browser interface is not secure. It is http only, with no https support at all. The username and password for the admin account can be easily sniffed and seen in plaintext on the network, and there is no apparent workaround.

    At this point, I am still figuring out how to configure this equipment into the network I want. That includes the order of configuration, to make sure I don't cut myself off from the equipment. I'll get back to everyone once I have it all figured out.

    Thanked by 1ralf
  • rm_rm_ Member
    edited August 20

    @emg said: It is also very large, way too loud with many always-on cooling fans, and it probably draws way too much power for a small office closet. It works great in a business computer room with racks.

    At some point I had three 48-port switches at home (got them used at different times for quite cheap). Mind you, only one ever powered on at a time. Had it running for a while, and was disabling most of the ports in the web interface, since doing that would cut down on power consumption considerably (perhaps tell the idea to your friend). But even with only like 16 ports active, it still consumed around 30-40 watts. The "full load" consumption was listed as 70W in the datasheet.

    Also replaced fans, inside it had just the standard 3-pin connection headers for fans, like on a PC motherboard.

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