We use a variety of switches. In our production network, for important services, something like juniper ex-series, cisco catalyst/nexus etc.
for simple tasks, we are using huawei, d-link or something no-name.
The key is "nature of the application", it means throughput and traffic
direction gradient, also if it would be present
Hope that help to narrow the question.
Just a note, Cisco does allow PoE control per port... at least on the Cisco 2960 and above (I think you're right on the small business switches, but not sure there...):
Switch(config)# interface fastethernet0/2
Switch(config-if)# power inline never
You can check more details here:
Cisco Switches are the Market Standard Today in Most Companies. One thing to note is the Continuous Up-time without fail, This is what Cisco Switches are used for Most Importantly. Cisco Switches are Hard-core performers today. I have seen narrow building shafts with no cooling option around and Still Switches Work Fine. Apart from This Cisco offers Netflow, SFlow, Detailed SNMP, Easy to understand Syslog, Ease of Use, Globally Acceptable Certifications and Much more for Customers and Admins. Also, Nexus High Speed Switching, VSS, Flex Links, Wide Support for High Availability, L3 Switching with Security etc,. Rocks!! So This explains Why Our Company is using Cisco.
We as a critical care hospital are always looking for price point and service along with quality. We have chosen HP 2920 POE, great switch for the money also has POE control per port that Cisco does not have.
We are one of the few it seems using Avaya switches. We've stayed true to the BayNetworks, Nortel and now Avaya transition. Switches are solid, never have an issue with service, no matter how old the switch is. We've migrated to the VSP7000 series at our core with various models at the edges. We are 10GB at the core and to most of our main office edge switches. POE running Wifi and VoIP without any problems.
I mostly use Huawei Quidway because they are easier to manage yet very secure.
We use Cisco 2960's at our edge stacks which are easy stackable and give you the option of 10gig or 1 gig to the edge. As we use each on different campus' this gives us the freedom to deploy devices from one source at each location. We also use POE from the switches to run our wireless area network and the 2960 range gives you this option as well, if you select the right model. All our edge stacks connect back to a four site Nexus platform that is interlinked by dark fibre, all of which is easily expanded and managed and maintained.
I have had little to do with other switches other than cheap and cheerfuls for small independant useage but I can recommend what I know and what works for us over a Global platform.
Hope that helps you in some way.
Depends on the solution you are using, and the network setup...
Likely, if you're setting up a remote office, you'll want to use a managed switch.
If you're setting up a office for 2 people and a printer, a 20€ unmanaged switch can do the job (likely provided you show someone at the office where to power off / on... :) ).
Regarding Managed switches, if you can afford, I do tend to prefer Cisco. It allows you remote configurations, 802.1q trunking, and a few monitoring and management functions (including CDP, SNMP, Syslog, Remote configuration Backups, etc...).
So what I mean from the above, is that without knowing what type of solution you are installing switches for, it's difficult to give a single answer... a better question, if I may suggest it, might be:
"for the purpose of connecting a switched network with users, and different VLANs, and locations, what ethernet switching would you use?"
Currently we use Cisco Switches and just added a Brocade switch recently. But, major switches are Cisco switches, at both ends.
We are moving over to Brocade. They have a non blocking architecture meaning no spanning tree issues. We can also trunk 40gig up and down the stacks. in the core the VDX series is fantastic with VMware offering additional functionality directly linked into Vsphere.
Also 10gb connectivity in the core on the VDX switches with the ability to upgrade to 100GB per port when required based on a software license.
Even the small 12 port switches come with 4 ports PoE meaning that wireless deployments or VOIP telephony is partially covered at a small price point.