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Cisco Ethernet Switches OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Cisco Ethernet Switches is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Ethernet Switches. It is most often compared to NETGEAR Switches: Cisco Ethernet Switches vs NETGEAR Switches

What is Cisco Ethernet Switches?
Cisco Ethernet Switches scale to meet the needs of networks of all sizes. They are Secure, Reliable and Seamless.

Cisco Ethernet Switches is also known as Cisco Industrial Ethernet Switches.

Cisco Ethernet Switches Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco Ethernet Switches Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

Cisco Ethernet Switches Customers
Linz AG
Cisco Ethernet Switches Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Cisco Ethernet Switches pricing:
  • "The last time I bought a 24-port switch, which was a while ago, I paid about five or six thousand Euros. In this part of the world, that's quite expensive for us."
  • "Price is a pain point for us. We've lost a lot of bids, and the reason has been that we majorly quoted Cisco devices. Some of our competitors quoted other devices like Ubiquity or Microchip. Some even quoted this Chinese product TP-Link, and they won the bid over us because we quoted Cisco. Meanwhile, the major reason why we quoted Cisco is reliability and stability from day one. They also last longer. The prices could be worked on so that they become more affordable. We had to deploy a city-wide WiFi network, and we were working in conjunction with Google. Because of the price, even Google recommended a product called Ruckus, so we used Ruckus over Cisco. Its price and license were the main reasons. You have to pay to renew the license every year. Even though you also renew the licenses for Ruckus, but they are much cheaper than Cisco. So, while I would recommend Cisco any time, the trouble remains with the pricing."
  • "This is an expensive solution, but you are paying for stability."

Cisco Ethernet Switches Reviews

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RI
Technical Project Manager at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
A versatile solution with stacking capability

Pros and Cons

  • "One valuable feature is that you can string a number of switches together, and the fact that there are various methods to connect them, such as by stacking."
  • "Switches should be made stackable, even if they are not of the same model."

What is our primary use case?

I have been using the newest line of Cisco switches, the 9300 series, for two or three years.

We have two different models for deployment. One is the SDN deployment model, which has to do with Software-Defined Networking and is the more recent.

The other is the traditional three-tier, via core access aggregation layer five switches with an Independent Architecture Designed environment or access layer switches where you just use them to connect users to a specific service. It depends on what the nature of the work would be and the scope of work. But generally, most traditional networks have three layers. You have switches in a core of the network, switches in the distribution or aggregation layer, or switches in the access layer. This is the Three-tier module. If it is a collapsed core then it would be just simply the core and the access.

A primary use case is you could use it to connect mostly end-users and host systems. Systems could be servers, systems could be printers, systems could be telephones, and systems could be video conferencing equipment. That's one end use of it.

Another is the use in the data center. Ethernet Switches can be used in a data center out to provide connectivity, wired connectivity for servers, database systems, platforms, other platforms systems, and storage systems. With Ethernet you could have different speeds, so you can have Ethernet running at 1Gig, you can have Ethernet at 10Gig, you can have Ethernet at 40Gig, and you have Ethernet at 100Gig. So, depending on the nature of connectivity, you have that in the data center, you can have that also in an office environment. Then you go up to have it in industrial space, monitoring of industrial machines and control systems. So again, Ethernet is widely used.

How has it helped my organization?

There are several situations where these switches are used. Most times if they want to move off the main site, or they want to move locations, or they want to have temporary spaces, they can use a switch. Temporary means they may want to expand connectivity from their network to a small branch office that is temporary. Temporary means they're going to run something there for six months and then after that the business won't be there.

With switches, you can expand your network with a connection aside but you can extend your network to a particular area. You can also develop a campus network, campus meaning you may have one building in there and then the company acquires another building, and then it's easy to connect the two buildings together with Fiber and a switch if you have that available. 

There is also multi-tenancy, if you're in a building when you have multiple floors, it's easy to extend the premises from one floor to another floor using a switch as well.

In terms of projects, technical projects, they are several, I mean even down to connectivity to third parties inside the data center. For example, you may find out that you need to connect to BT or you need to connect to your telco provider. Switches will facilitate your ability to connect to a third party to allow communications between two separate environments that are managed differently.

I've done projects where the switches are also used for translation. For example, one part is using Fibre, the other part is using Ethernet, and the switch can be used to communicate between the two technologies. The switch will transform the physical characteristics of the link from Fiber to Ethernet.

What is most valuable?

There are two things about this solution that I find valuable. One valuable feature is that you can string a number of switches together, and the fact that there are various methods to connect them, such as by stacking. A stack means that they operate as one switch spot. You have multiple physical switches in the stack. For example, you could have one particular physical switch and you can have many of them all connected together as if they're one switch.

Another valuable feature is that the switches can operate at different layers of the networking environment. You can have switches that operate at layer three, you can have layer four switches and also obviously layer two, data layer, is their normal operation.

These switches are versatile. They can operate as a router, but they can also operate as a switch as well. The fact that you can run routing protocols on them, and you can also run data link protocols, means that they are quite versatile enough.

What needs improvement?

At the moment the switches that you have can't scale because they've got their control plane and data plane in the same device. The problem with that is you're limited to the number of switches you can string along because of limitations with VLAN. VLAN does have limitations, but with Software-Defined Networking there is no limitation. This is bringing about changes in the networking field that are long-needed. Ultimately, I would like to see all of the switches support SDN.

Switches should be made stackable, even if they are not of the same model. Now stacking is another technology that a lot of switches can benefit from, but not all switches are capable of stacking. There are some switches that are capable of stacking, but not all switches. As a rule, in my view, I feel stacking should work between different switches and at the moment it doesn't. For example, if you want to build a stack, all the switches in the stack have to be literally the same. So that another area of technology which could be different. You could stack switches, even if they're not exactly the same, but they have a way of operating such that they can work together. It would be nice because it means people don't have to throw away things just because they can't meet what they want.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco switches for eighteen years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think this solution is very stable.

These switches have been around for a long time. Before that, all the technologies used couplers, which were called BNC connectors, network taps, all those things that existed. Couplers that existed before the arrival of Ethernet, they didn't last even two, three years, whereas Ethernet has been around for more than fifteen years.

Ethernet will continue to be around, and it's a very stable technology in terms of the operation. As well, Ethernet is the way forward, and it will still be around for another ten or fifteen years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Ethernet does not scale very well because you've got distance limitations. Ethernet can only run for about one hundred meters or less, so you have to use Couplers. This distance limitation is why we use Fibre. Fibre optics is actually a better technology than Ethernet, but it's more expensive. Everything about it, the equipment, the nature of the way the Fibre cables are prepared, is a lot more expensive compared to Ethernet.

Ideally, everybody would like to run Fiber switches because it's a better technology that carries more bandwidth. The high price is due in part to the components. All the components that make Fibre work are expensive to produce. It can be relatively cheap for what we use it for but overall, it's way more expensive than Ethernet. If it wasn't for that then Fibre would have been the best solution. Ethernet, as it is right now, the cost price point for Ethernet is very good, so it won't be going anywhere fast soon. In terms of scalability, don't have limits. If you want to scale, you need to use Fiber to scale.

In terms of users, the organization right now has more than a thousand, and the previous one had approximately five thousand.

With respect to user roles, some are call center personnel, some platform systems guys, some are software developers, some project managers, some are marketing managers, some are sales managers, and some are professional services. Department-wise you have your legal, HR, and your finance department.

To my knowledge, our business is focused on doing work for clients so I expect that our usage of Ethernet Switches will be expanding.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution is very good. They're very responsive.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have also used the Meraki MX switches, but they are more like routers and used to support the wireless systems for Meraki.

How was the initial setup?

With respect to the initial setup, the complexity depends on the topology. Most times they're not complicated. What's complicated is if you need to use them as a layer three switch, then you could have some complex configurations to do. However, if it's layer two, which is data layer connectivity only, then it's easy. If it's layer three then it's a little more challenging because you combine layer two and layer three and it could involve routing protocols. It's a lot more complex. 

Generally speaking, it depends on the manner in which you want to use the switch. Some deployments took maybe two weeks, some three days, some a month, and some even up to three months.

When it comes to my implementation strategy, first of all, you have to get the physical hardware into the data center or location where it needs to be. Make sure the right structured cabling was in place to connect this equipment so that it can work in that environment. Both from a power perspective and from a cabling perspective. I got to cable this switch to other systems and make sure that the right type of cabling is in place. Also, I have to make sure of the configurations that I'm going to use and get them organized upfront. In other words, I have the configurations I am going to put on a device and the software version. 

Another important thing is the software version. Make sure that the version is the appropriate one to put on there. Ensure that it doesn't have bugs or things, the type of configuration I want to put on there doesn't have bugs or anything that could impact the operation of those configurations.

After that is complete, I make sure that all of the connectors or transceivers that I've brought are the right type of transceivers for the systems. I'm able to connect them onto the network. Now that's just the physical connectivity.

There are other things you would do in implementation to test that the switch is working fine once it's operational. There are other tests that you conduct like Ping test, IP test, or whatever to show basic connectivity exists to that switch from the management perspective. You may also have tools, such as monitoring tools that you would use. You would also configure the monitoring tools to be able to recognize that particular device on the network and maybe things like memory, CPU, all the things to do with power, all these environmental conditions around that device are being monitored as well.

Then obviously you've got documentation as part of it. If you're putting a new set of equipment in there, the site probably has existing documentation that needs to be updated to reflect the fact that the typologies changed or you're introducing new equipment into that topology. In some cases, you've done this all upfront before you start the implementation. While in some cases, some companies, for the rush of time they want you to implement first and then do the documentation later. So again, it's still part of that strategy. Implementation wise, that's the approach you would go with in my opinion. Obviously there are different implementation approaches, and the stuff we're talking about here is just hardware.

What about the implementation team?

I am a specialist, and in most cases, I handle the implementation and deployment.

The time I would use another person is if the data center was far away when it's not conceivable that I would travel to that location. I'd probably use somebody from the data center or use a data center engineer who would set up the hardware. He would put the hardware in the rack, the network cage, or rack where the equipment is going to be located. He would help me physically screw the equipment, take it out of the box, and connect it into the cage, and then I'd give him instructions on where to put cable or where to plug the various cables that come with the equipment. So once he's done that, I'm able to remotely connect to the device.

Those are remote working situations where you're not physically able to go to the site and do the work there. Then yes, I would work with other people sometimes and give them some instructions on what I want to have done at that location.

What other advice do I have?

What is happening in the industry is that they are separating two things that traditionally held back the growth of switches, which is the control plane aspect of the switch from the data point. What you're finding is that the newer generation of switches, you can control them with a different device separately from the switch itself. In terms of the improvements, the improvements that are going on right now, Software Defined Networking creates the basis for you to have switches that can scale, and can scale very well.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Ivan Manchev
Network Delivery Lead at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
Stable and scalable solution for all business sizes

Pros and Cons

  • "Cisco Ethernet Switches are great devices."
  • "We are less in the Cloud because the Cloud technologies didn't work so well. That happened in all of the companies where I've been engaged."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for ethernet switches. We mainly use switches and routers as edge distribution switches. Some of the plants have been with the big pharmaceutical company Aragon. We have also been with a North American company, and others. Most of their switches were Cisco in pharmaceutical company where I worked for 10 years.

Some of the switches in the plants were used as a core. Many of them, especially in Bulgaria and in Europe, I installed myself. Others in America are responsible during the shift time for the configuration changes and so on. They are used in any level, as a Layer 3, Layer 2, whatever. All kinds of switches are used in the different places in our LAN. 

How has it helped my organization?

Cisco Ethernet Switches are great devices. I remember when we decided to replace all the HP switches from the American company when they acquired us. We replaced all the core switches with 3850, except in the bigger and biggest sites where we used the 4745 switches. That was great. They are very useful and very easy to configure. It was not much trouble at all and we got a more stable network.

What is most valuable?

We have been very satisfied with using Cisco 2960 series X with EIGRP Cisco proprietary protocol. This saved us much money and worked very stably.

We also installed 47 and 3850 Switches to the main servers on the 10-gig in some places and Nexus devices using 40-gig connectivity.

What needs improvement?

We are less in the Cloud because the Cloud technologies didn't work so well. That happened in all of the companies where I've been engaged.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches for a few months in my current position but I would say 20 years or more in other companies.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is great. Some Aruba devices are more stable, but with Cisco, we never had problems, with some little exceptions. It is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable.

In this company we have a single usage. I first started with Cisco routers in 1997, now we install Cisco routers all the time.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for the core switches especially, but for the rest as well, is very good. It's excellent support. Especially for the core switches we had 24/7 support. On some sites in Bulgaria we one time had a problem at midnight and they delivered that switch in time. They brought the switch very fast. Very good, excellent, technical support solution.

Also, with previous accounts with the pharmaceutical company we had access to a dedicated engineer for the project. We had access to their WAP environment. So, all told, tech support is brilliant.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used Aruba which is very similar to Cisco. It is also easy to manage and to install. Installing it is straightforward but I don't have too much experience with the priority. We were responsible for their LAN but they have some special requirements which we didn't touch. We didn't use all functionalities in the Aruba. We just used them as Layer 2 switches or as access switches on the main site, and on the bigger sites they had still some old HP switches.

Also, if I remember correctly, Comware had all those old HP switches. We used Aruba just as Layer 2 access devices and didn't use much of the functionalities.

I prefer Cisco. Of course, Aruba is cheaper overall but not necessarily for those small Layer 2 device access switches. I don't know what the price is now, I didn't compare each comparable device. If I had to choose, I would definitely go with the Cisco.

How was the initial setup?

In terms of the initial setup, for me, with much experience, it's straightforward. With most of the switches we had a good team and prepared more than the configuration on the access sheet and then automatically generated the configuration file, just moved it to the note part, visually checking for a minute. Then copy, paste, and done. Start installing. Mounting and connecting. Straightforward.

It takes about one day for the device, if you don't count the cabling and the rack mounting and moving those and so on, and including the break, between 30 and 60 minutes, not more, for each switch. If they are stackable with some stack devices, for all of them, let's say an hour to hour and a half. Not more because we had all the configurations prepared in advance.

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

I you have a big client or if you have a big project and register it, the discount is good. In the companies that I have worked for, mostly for switching, we had a 55% discount or more. So with that good discount, who cares? It's cheap enough.

What other advice do I have?

Cisco Ethernet Switches are appropriate for small and medium businesses. They also are large enough for our data centers which we had in Tel Aviv, Israel and in California. We had such big devices there.

On a scale of one to ten, I would give Cisco Ethernet Switches a 10.

I would advise others who are looking into implementing Cisco to buy and implement it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Ethernet Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
541,108 professionals have used our research since 2012.
MB
ICT Manager at a wholesaler/distributor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good user interface and security but costs too much

Pros and Cons

  • "The quality of service is one of the main reasons we use Cisco in our organization. It's quite high and very reliable. The switches also end up working for a long time, so there's less need to replace them as often as others. We have some switches in our company that has been running since 2006, for example. They are quite old, but they still work."
  • "The cost is very prohibitive both for us as well as other organizations. It's very expensive to buy Cisco switches. Among our colleagues, we find that we're not alone in thinking it's too high. Everyone's complaining about this."

What is our primary use case?

We have a few different buildings within our premises, and we typically use the Cisco switches as the core backbone of our LAN. They are connected with fiber. We use them for our network to handle security and connectivity mainly.

Our core business is to sell beverages, so we're not your typical telecom or banking institution that would be a typical Cisco client.

What is most valuable?

The quality of service is one of the main reasons we use Cisco in our organization. It's quite high and very reliable. The switches also end up working for a long time, so there's less need to replace them as often as others. We have some switches in our company that have been running since 2006, for example. They are quite old, but they still work.

The security and the user interface are both good. Mainly, I end up using the command lines, but it's okay for me and the way I work. It's my preference, although it's not ideal for everyone.

There are quite a few features that Cisco offers, but for our business, it's not really necessary. If you are a telecom or a banking institution, you would probably find them to be quite useful.

What needs improvement?

The cost is very prohibitive both for us as well as other organizations. It's very expensive to buy Cisco switches. Among our colleagues, we find that we're not alone in thinking it's too high. Everyone's complaining about this. 

We have many switches that we've used sine 2006 and that are on the old OS, but we don't want to switch them out because the cost to do so would be quite high.

The graphical user interface could be a bit better. When we have new employees, we want them to onboard quickly and to be able to understand the switches. Having a better graphical interface would help us do that and help them understand the switches faster. While I prefer command line, many are not good with it or do not prefer that method.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution since 2006. It's been more than ten years, so we're quite well versed in the technology.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable. Cisco is a brand that's known for its stability. Our switches have worked for well over 10 years in some cases, without fail.

How are customer service and technical support?

We never really directly deal with Cisco, so I can't speak to how well they are from a customer service perspective.

How was the initial setup?

We moved from a different type of switch originally. We found switching over was quite straightforward and didn't run into any difficulties. However, now our office and our infrastructure are much more complex, so there is a bit of a learning curve. Companies with complex infrastructures will find that there will be complexity in the setup. They'll have to sort through that when they get started.

Originally, when our offices were smaller and more straightforward, deployment didn't take to much time. We handled it over a weekend, from Friday to Sunday or Monday. However, at the time, we weren't yet doing segmentation traffic.

What about the implementation team?

We had a consultant in Belgium who came in over the weekend to help us with the process when we originally set up the switches. Normally we work within our own team and have our own in-house workers that handle the configuration.

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

I don't handle the licensing aspect of the solution, so I can't speak to the exact pricing. However, I am aware it's one of the more expensive options on the market. The last time I bought a 24-port switch, which was a while ago, I paid about five or six thousand Euros. In this part of the world, that's quite expensive for us.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did compare Cisco to Ubiquiti. I was doing this research for a friend who was trying to open a resort but had limited funding. He didn't want to deal with Cisco as he knew the pricing would be out of his budget, so he asked me to look into another option. He asked that I look at Ubiquiti. For him, Ubiquiti ended up being a good option and was quite affordable. I believe you can also use Ubiquiti at an enterprise level as well. 

What other advice do I have?

We mainly work with Cisco ethernet switches at our organization.

Aside from the cost, the Cisco switches are quite stable and easy to use. 

If you have the money as an organization, I would highly recommend Cisco.

We are just a customer of Cisco. We don't have a special relationship with the company in any way shape or form.

I would rate the solution 8.5 out of ten. I would rate it higher, but the price is too high, in my opinion. It's quite good for me in terms of the usage I get out of it, but I find that I don't use other features that Cisco offers now.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Maurice Poor
Manager - Network Operating Center at BCN
Real User
Top 10
The most stable and reliable switches that perform better than all other solutions out there

Pros and Cons

  • "What we love about the Cisco switches is that they are very reliable. You can deploy them and go to sleep, and you can be sure that nothing is going to go wrong. Our initial equipment was installed by a Chinese manufacturer named Fiberhome a couple of years ago. Their switches were called S engines. They worked, but some days, you just wake up, and the switch has popped up. It was a lot of crisis. Therefore, we are in the process of trying to take out all their switches and replace them with Cisco switches. We are getting good results in terms of reliability and even technical support."
  • "Cisco switches are good as they are, but it would be a major feature if they have built-in routers. Some of the Microchip switches have routers built in the same device. They have a router switch. For some of the sites, we deploy such switches because the client does not want a separate router and a separate switch. So, we go for a router switch with maybe 24 ports. Some of them are fiber, and some of them are ethernet. It would be a major improvement to what Cisco is already doing. Behind the scenes, a lot of scripting and stuff like this is happening. A lot of workload can be lifted if Cisco had a good GUI. If you look at Microchip switches, they have a good GUI in addition to the CLI."

What is our primary use case?

We are a fiber-optic provider. We have a lot of switches from Cisco and some from Microchip. We have C3750E, which is one of the main Cisco Ethernet switches. All ports of this switch are fiber.

We have a local Cisco partner here who is quite reliable, so we patronize that partner. They do everything on our behalf, especially the licenses.

What is most valuable?

What we love about the Cisco switches is that they are very reliable. You can deploy them and go to sleep, and you can be sure that nothing is going to go wrong. Our initial equipment was installed by a Chinese manufacturer named Fiberhome a couple of years ago. Their switches were called S engines. They worked, but some days, you just wake up, and the switch has popped up. It was a lot of crisis. Therefore, we are in the process of trying to take out all their switches and replace them with Cisco switches. We are getting good results in terms of reliability and even technical support.

What needs improvement?

Cisco switches are good as they are, but it would be a major feature if they have built-in routers. Some of the Microchip switches have routers built in the same device. They have a router switch. For some of the sites, we deploy such switches because the client does not want a separate router and a separate switch. So, we go for a router switch with maybe 24 ports. Some of them are fiber, and some of them are ethernet. It would be a major improvement to what Cisco is already doing.

Behind the scenes, a lot of scripting and stuff like this is happening. A lot of workload can be lifted if Cisco had a good GUI. If you look at Microchip switches, they have a good GUI in addition to the CLI.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've been using them for a couple of years now. They have been running from day one after we installed them. Besides general maintenance issues, we never really have to turn them off.

They're very reliable and stable. These are the most stable switches that we have. In a country like ours, Cisco switches are the only devices that have second-hand value. You could go to a second-hand shop and buy a second-hand industrial version, not the small business or domestic version, of the Cisco switch or router. It will still serve you well.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've not really used much of the technical support even though for the new switches, we pay for it. The main benefit is the updates on iOS. We've never really had a situation where something went wrong with it, and we had to get in touch with technical support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. I wonder why some of the new Cisco switches still come with anterior port RS232 and why do they still maintain that. 

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

Price is a pain point for us. We've lost a lot of bids, and the reason has been that we majorly quoted Cisco devices. Some of our competitors quoted other devices like Ubiquity or Microchip. Some even quoted this Chinese product TP-Link, and they won the bid over us because we quoted Cisco. Meanwhile, the major reason why we quoted Cisco is reliability and stability from day one. They also last longer. The prices could be worked on so that they become more affordable.

We had to deploy a city-wide WiFi network, and we were working in conjunction with Google. Because of the price, even Google recommended a product called Ruckus, so we used Ruckus over Cisco. Its price and license were the main reasons. You have to pay to renew the license every year. Even though you also renew the licenses for Ruckus, but they are much cheaper than Cisco. So, while I would recommend Cisco any time, the trouble remains with the pricing.

What other advice do I have?

I would highly recommend it, especially for people who are doing wide-scale deployments like campus networks or a city-wide network square. 

I would rate Cisco Ethernet Switches a ten out of ten. I don't see any product that performs better. We had a Chinese company coming in to do a bunch of presentations and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, those of us who are at the back doing the configurations understand that it is nothing closer to what Cisco offers.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PinchasAlbalya
Network Engineer at Ben Gurion University
Real User
Top 10
Stable, easy to configure, and fast switching of layer-2

Pros and Cons

  • "The layer-2 switching is very fast."
  • "I would like to see this solution automatically store multiple versions of the configuration file."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for our university campus network.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this solution is the stability.

The solution is simple to configure.

The layer-2 switching is very fast.

What needs improvement?

We would like to have the option of two power supplies on these switches. It is important for us because these switches are installed in our data center and critical departments. These units have to be available all of the time.

I would like to see this solution automatically store multiple versions of the configuration file. For example, Juniper switches will save forty versions of the configuration, while Cisco will only store one. If you want to keep more than one then you need to make it manually. If you need to restore it then you will have to use the saved file to do that manually, as well. In the large switches, they do keep one primary image and the backup image, which is good, but it is not like Juniper. I can roll back to any version within the last forty that have been committed. It's a very, very nice feature that I would like to see in Cisco equipment.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for twenty years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a very stable solution. You install it and then you don't have to touch it for many years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

At this level, the edge, we are not concerned with scalability. We will be able to update the edge using the new uplink port module if we need to.

The core switches are scalable. You can add another slot of forty-eight ports with 10-gigabit each. 

On the university campus, we have approximately thirty thousand users. These are not concurrent connections. We have more than twenty thousand students, about six thousand employees, and there are guests. I can say that more than twenty thousand connections may be active at one time.

We have about one thousand switches, and we have four people in charge of maintenance. They do the installation, repairs, and all of the other tasks in the data center. Three are technicians and one is a manager.

How are customer service and technical support?

We work with our vendor, who in turns works with the Cisco support. There are times, however, when we need to get support directly from Cisco as well.

We are satisfied with both the local vendor support and support from Cisco. When we have problems, they put the effort into it until the problem is solved.

We had a problem with the structure of the switches in the core. We weren't sure what the problem was, but we were helped at every step of the process. Cisco was in contact with us every day until the problem was solved. We are very satisfied with the support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have experience with Juniper LAN switches, but that was with a previous company.

The university campus had bought Juniper switches about six years ago, but they are moving completely to Cisco equipment. Cisco is more expensive than Juniper by perhaps double. The price is higher because they are more stable.

We still have about one hundred Juniper switches out of our one thousand in total.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is very simple.

You can copy the image to the switch using FTP and run a command to install it. The process is very simple and we always upgrade our switches without any problems.

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

This is an expensive solution, but you are paying for stability.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Meraki switches but they were not suitable for the university campus.

What other advice do I have?

We are looking forward to the 10-gigabit uplink port, which is an improvement that we have waited for. We expect to have this new module in one or two months.

Cisco has a family of Small Business Switches called SG. For example, the SG300 model. This is a cheaper model, and although they are missing some protocols, they are very good. Out of our one thousand switches, we have about one hundred SG models. The price of these is lower than Juniper switches.

I surely recommend this product, and the new Cisco line seems to be even stronger. There are improvements in terms of new modules and power supplies, and the price is not increasing.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Account Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
Very stable, scales well, and has excellent technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "It's all-encompassing and can help you in all these different areas. If people realize that they want something that's going to work, that's pretty foolproof, then Cisco's always worth the investment."
  • "You do have to buy into the Cisco architecture to be able to use them."

What is our primary use case?

We have them set up for customers, including SMB, Kindergarten through grade 12 schools, higher education organizations, and some enterprises. It's pretty much been used for everything except the federal government.

What is most valuable?

The Cisco software does everything under one umbrella better than the competition. HP kind of has the capability. I'm not sure if they still have it, however, they used to license Cisco's iOS software for their own switches, which were decent switches as well. Now, there's Aruba, however, they've been through a bunch of different changes over the years. ThreeCom was part of HP for a while. In any case, Cisco offers sort of a one-stop-shop of options.

It's all-encompassing and can help you in all these different areas. If people realize that they want something that's going to work, that's pretty foolproof, then Cisco's always worth the investment.

The initial setup has gotten easier over the years.

The stability is excellent.

The solution is very scalable.

Technical support is quite helpful and responsive. 

What needs improvement?

The thing that people usually complain about is that they're a little bit more expensive than other options. That said, you get what you pay for and it's such a good solution.

You do have to buy into the Cisco architecture to be able to use them.

You have to make sure you size appropriately at the outset. They're for the smaller markets usually, and you just want to make sure you don't purchase something under what you might grow to. Users should try to think a little bit bigger than what they want just so that they can have extra ports if they need them, instead of having to buy another one quicker than expected.

For how long have I used the solution?

Our company has worked with Cisco probably for more than 20 years. The company is 31 years old, and we've actually always worked with Cisco Switches since the beginning. We have the same master engineer that has been with us for probably 28 of the 30 years. He's always been working with that.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. That's one of the main benefits of it. It's super stable, and it's been proven for years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

They've got many solutions for small companies, which we work with, and some of our biggest customers, and even multinationals can use Cisco probably better than anybody else. That's why the fact that international community likes it so much. They can use it anywhere in the world in companies of any size. It scales very well.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is usually very good. You're paying for the best, so the tech support is really good as well. We are quite satisfied with the level of service provided. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also have experience with solutions such as Juniper, Aruba, and Ruckus. 

If the people want to save some money, they'll go with a Ruckus switch or something else as it's less expensive. With Cisco, it has you covered, however, it's a little bit more expensive, and if you don't like the fact that it's got the closed infrastructure, it's a closed architecture, you're not going to mix and match it with switches from other companies.

How was the initial setup?

In terms of the initial setup, I'm never really involved in it. It's our engineers that do that. It's a definite effort to get everything set up and working correctly. It's not just out of the box, however, these days they've all gotten so much better. The Cisco products of today would be much easier to put together than the ones in the past.

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

The pricing is high. It's expensive, however, you get what you pay for and it is an excellent solution.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise new users to work with a reseller that has a good history of working with Cisco and that can do a good game plan upfront with what your actual long-term goals and needs will be.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten. The product is excellent, however, nothing is perfect, which is why I haven't rated it at a perfect ten. There are always ways to improve.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
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ITCS user
Supervisor of IT Infrastructure & Cybersecurity at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
Has impressive reliability, I have not experienced a failure

Pros and Cons

  • "Cisco Ethernet Switches have great enterprise features like Cisco DNA Assurance. Cisco DNA Assurance features advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning. Cisco AI Network Analytics, a capability within Cisco DNA Assurance, allows easy management of all devices and services, prioritizes and resolves network issues, and ensures a better user experience across the network."
  • "The typical areas of concern for Cisco Ethernet Switches are not technical but cost including support costs. I’ve never liked the fact that end users cannot download security patches without a support contract. I’ve had trouble getting approval to renew Cisco support contracts due to the cost."

What is our primary use case?

Cisco Ethernet Switches are the product line I have the most experience with and have been my go-to solution for many years with mid to large organizations over the years. They are still top contenders for environments that need layer 3 functionality in a switch. They have a product line that covers the entire spectrum of switching technology from the high-end Nexus products through the traditional enterprise catalyst models and all the way down to the small business solutions. They seem to have the market covered with a solution to meet any IT shop's needs.

How has it helped my organization?

Cisco switches provide layer 3 functionality on the network taking that load off the security appliance and not requiring a router on the network. This prevents single points of failure for internal data routing and keeps internal routes off the security appliance workload. The CLI is the industry standard and most network professionals learn it and can use it.

The reliability of Cisco Ethernet Switches is amazingly impressive. Maybe I’m lucky but I have not experienced a Cisco Ethernet Switch fail unless caused by a power event such as lightning. I highly recommend connecting switches via fiber-optic connections due to the lack of electrical conductivity. I learned this the hard way when a building with the electrical systems not properly grounded caused a cascade of switch failures during a lightning storm.

What is most valuable?

The CLI is very valuable as it allows network professionals to work fast and customize the configuration however they need.

Cisco Ethernet Switches have great enterprise features like Cisco DNA Assurance. Cisco DNA Assurance features advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning. Cisco AI Network Analytics, a capability within Cisco DNA Assurance, allows easy management of all devices and services, prioritizes and resolves network issues, and ensures a better user experience across the network.

Also, appreciate the industrial line of switches for SCADA or other environments where switches are placed in unconditioned space and the temperatures fluctuate a lot during the seasons.                        

What needs improvement?

The typical areas of concern for Cisco Ethernet Switches are not technical but cost including support costs. I’ve never liked the fact that end users cannot download security patches without a support contract. I’ve had trouble getting approval to renew Cisco support contracts due to the cost.

The additional charges for the DNA capabilities of the switches further prices the switches are out of contention for a lot of IT shops. I understand the development of this technology is expensive but costs are sometimes borderline ridiculous.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have 25+ years of experience with Cisco switches.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Cisco Ethernet Switches are some of the most rock-solid hardware I’ve had the pleasure of using.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Cisco Ethernet Switches are extremely scalable and have the broadest line of solutions in the market.

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco's technical support has deteriorated over the years. They have call centers all over the world and sometimes the techs experience levels seem to vary. This seems to be the industry standard though in my experience.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches my entire career. I really like them but they are not always cost-effective.

How was the initial setup?

If you know the CLI interface the setup is straightforward. If not you are in for a bumpy ride.

What about the implementation team?

It was deployed in-house.

What was our ROI?

ROI is longer than other solutions in the enterprise space but comparable in the small business area of Cisco’s product lines.

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

Find a Cisco partner that has a lot of volume and pressure them for a better price. There is a lot of markup on the higher end devices. Plan for support contract expenses for the life of the device. Also check the EOL details prior to purchase so you don’t purchase an older device that will not get the years of software updates and security patches you need.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We compared it to Meraki if cloud management would be helpful.

What other advice do I have?

You will not be disappointed with a Cisco solution from a technical perspective. Learn the OS via CLI and you will always have job security too.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Muhammed Eslami
Solution Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good availability and load balancing and relatively easy to scale

Pros and Cons

  • "The security of the switches is pretty impressive. There are many security features available on the product."
  • "The enterprise-level switches should have a simpler deployment. They should make it possible for lower-skilled workers to be able to deploy the product."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for data centers and also for local area networks for enterprises.

What is most valuable?

I've worked with many features on Cisco's switches. However, the newest features I've used were on Nexus switches. The VPC on Nexus switches, supported on Nexus switches, provides high availability and load balancing for virtual port channels. It is a link aggregation we used in data centers. It's been fantastic.

The security of the switches is pretty impressive. There are many security features available on the product.

What needs improvement?

The solution could always benefit from some more security features. For example, they need something which is mainly used for enterprise networks that allow for identity-based security or authentication. 

The pricing of the switches could be lowered. Right now, they are quite expensive.

The enterprise-level switches should have a simpler deployment. They should make it possible for lower-skilled workers to be able to deploy the product. It should be just as easy as turning them on, powering them up, and connecting the PCs, which would be the same as or similar to a generic simple switch. Many users can't use Cisco's advanced features and won't be able to deploy Cisco's advanced CLI or other management tools otherwise.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been dealing with Cisco's switches for more than 20 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable and Cisco is very reliable. It doesn't crash. There aren't bugs or glitches. I have experience on switches, which we've not reloaded for more than five years, even. They have been up and running for five years and don't cause us any trouble, which is impressive.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is quite scalable. They support our stacking feature, which means we can stack up to eight switches together to have scalable port numbers in terms of port numbers and also throughput. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I've contacted technical support in the past, and, in my experience, they are very good. They are helpful and responsive. However, I do find that they don't answer all your questions or resolve your issues. Most of the time it depends on the customer's agreement. 

I'm not the owner of the equipment. I work for customers in a deployment project's implementation and support. Most of the time the level of support provided depends on how much money the company we are assisting has paid to Cisco.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've used Foundry switches in the past, which is a brand that does not exist any longer. Those switches were also very good in terms of stability. We used them in industrial ethernet environments. However, they are not products that are produced anymore.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup's level of difficulty varies quite a bit. For ethernet switches with default configurations, it's easy enough for normal operations. However, if you want to make use of more advanced features via Cisco, it requires a lot of advanced knowledge. It's not straightforward. It requires experience and in-depth knowledge of Cisco CLR or other management tools. You need to be an expert, or to hire one.

Simple operations or simple deployments don't take more than one day. For both switches, it takes even less than an hour. However, if you want to deploy more advanced features like .money for the set or more features like routing, etc., it can take one or two days. It shouldn't take longer than that. 

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

Cisco's pricing is quite high. It's on the higher end of the spectrum in comparison to other options on the market.

What other advice do I have?

I've worked with Cisco switches, but not industrial switches. I've worked with the 2900 series switches, as well as the 2800, 3700 series, and 3800 series of switches. Those are Cisco's enterprise and LAN switches.

I would recommend using Cisco ethernet switches.

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten overall.

There are some issues with the product, which is normal. nothing is ever perfect. However, compared to other options, Cisco is your best bet.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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