Cisco Catalyst Switches Review

Reliable and scalable with lots of great features

What is our primary use case?

We're using it as basic switches - mainly VLANs and SPB, The main focus is actually for just VLANs and VLAN switching, and that's it.

What is most valuable?

There are a lot of features on the device. We're not using all the features that we can use, however.

It's all fine. It works quite well. What we have now is good. We don't have many requirements for these switches except just forwarding traffic.

The solution has been very stable.

We find the product to be scalable.

Technical support is very responsive and helpful.

The solution is very reliable.

What needs improvement?

Pricing mainly is the only issue. For our company, IT is not a major investment, so it would be harder to convince management to invest in Cisco switches. For quality, they are the best, however, in terms of pricing, especially due to the COVID crisis and everything, investment into a network is now a lower priority. Before, when the money flow was better, it was easier to sell. However, now, for this current situation, a major point of pain in the company is price. 

Even though my priority is reliability, in order to avoid downtime, management is harder to convince and they just see the price tag. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution since about 2018. It's been around four years or so now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. Since 2018, since we started with them, we haven't faced any issues with these switches, except for one instance where we switched to a new switch and needed to restart to enable the functionality.

Other than that, the switches are working great. There were only two times we restarted them due to an incident with the power equipment. The switches restarted because of a power issue, and not due to the switch itself having a problem.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. We're actually using it using iStack. It is stackable and very scalable to add more switches. It's quite easy to expand everything.

We're using these for our core network. It's across all our core network that is going through our IT department. For that reason, many people are on them. It's likely about 50 people 50, plus the user traffic. We're an ISP. We have some servers and portals that use these servers, switches to reach the network. Therefore, many, many users use that. We have a lot of user traffic going through the switches.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is fine. We've had, several moments in these last four years where we've requested Cisco technical support and they were very quick to respond and provide assistance. It's taken, at a maximum, two days to go from request to support. they are very responsive. We are very satisfied with their level of service.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As I understand, Cisco's prices are very high and other vendors might have a lower price. Therefore, we're considering Aruba or Huawei or maybe other vendors as well for both access switches and managed wireless solutions (as in lightweight access points with controllers and these kinds of networks). 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Due to the wireless network upgrade, I'm considering other measures as well as Cisco. We're considering Aruba and we're considering Huawei. I'm considering switching to other vendors mainly because of the price.

What other advice do I have?

We are a customer and an end-user.

We deal with a lot of Cisco products. We use maybe 20 or so Cisco switches.

We have an old 2960-X and a 2960 Plus. We also have three 9300 switches, which are the newer model.

I would advise other users to plan for a larger network than you currently need. For example, if you need 20 ports on a switch and you're ordering this equipment. order a 48 port one, as you'll find that you quickly consume the 20 ports and you need upgrades of two, three, four, five, six. You'll need upgrades quickly and you'll find yourself ordering another switch to replace this one. The most sensible recommendation is to order one bigger switch, which is better than replacing the switch you have within one year. 

I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten. The switches are excellent.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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