Tag Archives: Gigabit Switch

Ethernet Switches: to Stack or Not to Stack?

Over past years, stacking has escalated from a premium feature to a core constituent of an Ethernet switch. When it comes to network design, you may often face two challenges: maximizing scalability and optimizing performance. Finding the right balance can be tricky. This is why you’ve considered stacking or not stacking when managing your Ethernet switches.

What Is Switch Stacking or Stackable Switches?

Stackable switches or stacking switches are a type of switch designed to be stacked on top of one another. Stackable Ethernet switch is now well established as a stable, standards-based connectivity technology to efficiently handle and manage bandwidth-hungry applications. Stacking allows you to manage multiple switches as a single entity and provides increased bandwidth between the switches. Stackable switches can be placed in networking closets and stand alone as a whole unit. The feature sets of stackable switches vary depending on vendor and platform. Most stackable switches support advanced functions like QoS, multicasting, and VLAN management. For instance, the following FS S3800-24T4S stackable switch is a 24-Port 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit switch with QoS flow control and IP subnet-based VLAN. It supports up to 4 switches stacking and up to 96 Gigabit ports and 8 10G SFP+ ports per physical stack, providing up to 512Gbps total switching capacity for the network.

stackable switch

To Stack or Not to Stack – Think Twice Before Buying

Whether an enterprise outfits its wiring closets with stackable switches or not will depend on what services are needed and how much redundancy is required at the network edge. Stacking multiple switches allows for efficiency and ease of management when you do it right. The switch capacity of a stack is the total port density of the combined switches that are stacked together. For example, when you stack four 24-port switches, you will get one large 96-port switch when it comes to configuration. All these switches in the stack share a single IP address for remote administration instead of each stack unit having its own IP address.

In a small business where access to data and resources are critical, it is a wise option to choose stackable switches because they can significantly reduce downtime and make your network more resilient. In mission critical networks, if a switch within the stack went down, another switch would take over, ensuring that your network remains up and running uninterruptedly. In this way, stackable switches provide additional protection and redundancy for your network. Moreover, you can replace the breakdown switch in the stack without having your network offline for extended periods and impacting employee productivity in the process.

Approaches to Stack Ethernet Switches

Generally, there are mainly two ways to stack multiple network switches into a group. For stackable switches with dedicated stacking ports, a stack cable is used to realize switch stacking among them. But only approved cable can be used as stack cable, or else it would cause damage to the switches. The other approach is to use the uplink ports on the switch to connect each switch together in the stacking system. Most stackable switches on the market today can be stacked using several types of Ethernet ports including 10GBASE-T copper port, 10G SFP+ fiber port and 40G QSFP+ port as an uplink. For example, FS S3800-24F4S stackable managed switch uses 4 10G SFP+ ports as uplink ports to stack between switches. Up to four of the same type of models can be stacked together via SFP+ transceivers (with fiber patch cable) or DAC cables. Here’s the video to show you how to stack FS S3800 series switches step by step.

FS.COM Stackable Managed Switch List

Model Switch Class Switching Capacity Gigabit RJ45 Ports SFP Ports SFP+ Ports Combo Ports Price
S3800-24T4S Layer2+ 128Gbps 24 N/A 4 N/A US$369
S3800-24F4S Layer2+ 128Gbps N/A 20 4 4 US$389
S5900-24S Layer3 480Gbps N/A N/A 24 N/A US$1999

Note: Please be careful about Ethernet switches in the market which are sold as “stackable” when they merely offer a single user interface, or central management interface, for getting to each individual switch unit. This approach is not stackable, but really “clustering”. You still have to configure every feature such as ACLs, QoS, Port mirroring, etc, individually on each switch.

Conclusion

As your business grows, is your network prepared to grow accordingly? Stackable switches have become extremely popular for good reasons. They can simplify management and enhance switching capacity for easy network expansion. But for most customers, achieving super high availability may not be the goal. Then standalone switches are already enough for you rather than stackable switches. Thus the pay-as-you-grow stackable switch model is suitable for those who need flexibility, not only in their physical network, but also in the amount of traffic that is going through it.

Related Article: FS S5900-24S Stackable Switch: Affordable Option for Network Expansion

What Is Gigabit Switch

Nowadays, smart home and home automation are becoming more widespread. Small and medium enterprises have been developing vigorously. All of these phenomenons greatly promote the usage of Gigabit switch. For network engineers, Gigabit switch is an essential component in their network construction and can be an inexpensive and easy way to expand network in home and small business. This article is mainly conducted to popularize the generic concept and different types of Gigabit switch so as to help choose a suitable one for your networking.

Gigabit Switch

Concept of Gigabit Switch

In computer networking, a Gigabit Ethernet switch connects multiple devices, such as computers, servers, or game systems to a Local Area Network (LAN). It also empowers devices like 4K HDTVs and DVRs to connect directly to the internet without depending on Wi-Fi. With the ability of speeding up data transfer, it results in faster response time and better frame rate. In general, a Gigabit Ethernet switch expands network capacity via extra ports.

Types of Gigabit Switch

There are many different types of switches in the market. According to the quantity of devices you have and the people who use the network, you need to choose relevant switch. If you want to expand your network without big expense, the basic Gigabit Ethernet switch is a great choice for small and medium environments to boost performance and efficiency of network, such as 16-port and 24-port Gigabit switch. For home users, a 8-port Gigabit switch is enough. Here, we just introduce the basic concept of managed and unmanaged switch, PoE switch and stackable switch to help distinguish the functions of different types of Gigabit Ethernet switch.

  • Unmanaged Switch

Unmanaged switch is regularly used in home networking, small companies and businesses. A basic unmanaged gigabit Ethernet switch has no user configuration. So it is simple to set up. If you want to add more Ethernet ports, you can use these plug and play types of switches in your networking.

  • Managed Switch

Comparing to unmanaged switch, the primary advantage of managed switch is that it can be customized to enhance the functionality of a certain network. It can also be monitored and adjusted in some aspects. It adjusts speeds, monitors traffic and report network activity. Although a managed switch is typically more expensive than an unmanaged switch, it offers greater flexibility.

  • PoE Switch

PoE Gigabit switch is a network switch which applies Power over Ethernet technology. When connected with multiple network devices, PoE switch can support power and data transmission over one network cable at the same time. It will extremely simplify the cabling process.

PoE Gigabit switch

  • Stackable Switch

A stackable switch is a network switch that is fully functional operating standalone. But it can also be set up to operate together with one or more network switches. Since it can be configured, the stack of switch will automatically reroute in case of a port or cable failure.

Conclusion

This article concisely introduces four types of switches in networking: unmanaged switch, managed switch, PoE switch and stackable switch. When Gigabit switch is in an selection, the number of users your network supports should be given the utmost attention to. Broadly speaking, for small families, a 8-port Gigabit switch is adequate. While for SMBs or large enterprises with many network devices, a 24-port Gigabit switch can be used in offices to connect desktops or laptops. On the contrary, a 24-port Gigabit switch with a better prospect is more applied in small business network. Quality and standards are the foundation of FS.COM, if you have any need, FS.COM will always be your best choice.