Access layer switch + Wi-Fi router or integrated service router (Cisco RV series) for a student


New Around Here
Hello, I'm a self-funded student reading for MSc in Cybersecurity. My research and work involve heavy local network usage.

I currently have a single Netgear R7000, which has 4x1Gbps ports. All of the ports are divided between a Dell workstation with two NICs and a Synology NAS. I see my homelab growing as my work progresses. I have 7 Raspberry Pis running different workloads & around 21 Wi-Fi clients at home (including the Pis)

My requirements are:

If both these requirements can be met with a single device such as the Cisco integrated service routers, it would be preferential.
  1. At the least 16 x 1 Gbps ports and preferably higher throughput 10G uplink ports for future use.
  2. VLANs and L3 routing capabilities for segregation.
  3. I am not planning for a Cisco/vendor-centric certification. I am, however, interested in a good CLI based switch for learning.
  4. PoE isn't a mandate.
Most network services are hosted on a Raspberry Pi cluster on Kubernetes. Thsee include PiVPN & Pi-Hole running unbound for recursive DNS service. Hence I am not really looking for security services such as URL filtering, VPN access etc as part of the bundle.

Hence my question: Is it better to get a SG350-28 ports or is it more advisable to get a Cisco RV345 for my homelab?

As a self-funded student I have limited budget and while my homelab will continue to grow, what is a more prudent investment given my current state? I'm open to recommendations beyond Cisco.


Very Senior Member
Go discrete switch. Besides modularity, another reason to do this is the RV series is a small biz product that lacks a true CLI.

For a switch, go true enterprise. Cisco SG is small biz class and while it does have a CLI, it's not on par with a full enterprise OS and feature set. To lower the cost, go used off eBay. I would recommend a Cisco Catalyst L3 model running IP Services, HPE 2900 series and up, or a Juniper EX. Especially Juniper because JunOS rocks.


Part of the Furniture
Most back in my day, people ran old Cisco enterprise gear so they could learn command line. Once the equipment is out of date it is cheap. The problem is software (firmware called IOS). You need to work around Cisco gear to have access to software as it is expensive. I don't think there is a cheap way around it. If you buy Cisco hardware off eBay, make sure you get a firmware with it.


Very Senior Member
I don't think there is a cheap way around it.
Sure there are, provided you search well enough. There are plenty of cert forums and mirror sites with IOS and IOS-XE images for basically any Catalyst switch you can think of.

Similar threads

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!