Seeking advice on L3 Switch best suited for Planned Setup & Future Expansion

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ldesmar

Occasional Visitor

Hello everyone… I have been lurking around this forum and have found/read a lot of very valuable information. After all my research, I have come down with a high-level plan to address some immediate needs; while considering how to further expand/improve my SOHO network down the line.


CURRENTLY SEEKING ADVICE HERE for a “future-proof” L3 PoE+ Switch that I need to purchase:
  • Only needs Local Management (no remote access required).
  • Prefer No license purchases or yearly subscriptions.
  • Ideally with a “Set-and-forget” setup, preferably with GUI to assist in VLAN configuration.
  • 8-to-10 PoE ports with a Minimum of 120W, preferably fanless.
  • Willing to consider 2.5 Gbps, or 5 Gbps link speeds (have 3 runs of Cat5e available for now).
  • Will likely have to add some Ethernet cables for Stage 2 anyway! (either more Cat5e or install Cat6)

Comments please for the following L3 PoE Switches:
  1. Cisco CBS series vs Cisco SG series:
    • Differences worth the price gap for the CBS series?
    • Worth going for CBS series right away?
  2. Wondering if a Netgear switch is a good candidate:
    • However, have read that their VLAN is not "reliable" !
    • Comments welcomed on Netgear L3 PoE 8-10 ports Switches ( Min 120W ) !
  3. Also checked many reviews for other brands. I am now very conflicted on which other switches are worth considering at this point:
    • ZyXel, HP, Ubiquiti, ???
    • Any informed recommendations are welcomed!

As additional background:
The current setup is very basic and has all of the devices running via Wi-Fi from the ISP-provided Gateway (Technicolor Model XB6 CGM4140COM), which also includes 4 Wireless 4K TV Players. The Gateway is using a Shaw(ISP)-specific FW with little manual configuration options & no VLAN features that I can find! This currently supports all my devices: 2 Laptops, 2 Smart Phones, 1 HP Wi-Fi Printer, 1 NVIDIA Shield, 4 Wireless 4K TV Players and a number of Smart Devices: 1 Google Nest Audio + 1 Google Home + 2 Google Minis.

There are also a number of IoT Devices that I acquired but have not installed them yet as I want to implement network segmentation for all IoT devices and better security in separating devices into various subnets.

After much reading, it seems that the “best practice” would be to add a L3 Smart Managed Switch as the “core switch” at this time along with PoE capabilities to later expand the network with further PoE Devices! After looking up L3 Switches, I am uncertain about the best fit and seeking some recommendations for it.

NOTE: I also have 2 personal routers that have not been installed yet:
  • Netgear Nighthawk R8000P
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000

My current thinking would be to update the network in 2 phases (… but open to “better” suggestions):

Phase 1 - For immediate needs:
  1. Put the ISP-Provided Gateway in bridge mode and install the Netgear R8000P as the “primary router” along with a new L3 PoE switch candidate (model to be determined).
  2. The other Netgear R7000 router could then be connected to the L3 Switch on a dedicated VLAN for the IoT WiFi devices using 2.5 Ghz frequency.
  3. Decision to be made on selection of the appropriate L3 PoE Switch to get, based on responses to initial question.
Phase 2 - For future expansion:
  1. Really like what I have read on the Asus RT-AX86U Router so far.
    • Keeping an eye on it for possible later addition. May make it the Primary Router down the road.
    • Also keeping an eye on RMerlin FW for it
  2. Will likely add some PoE Security Cameras at some point as well!

  3. Will later include some newer AP’s (replacing the Netgear routers), powered from the L3 Core PoE Switch.

Considerations, so far:
  1. Cisco CBW Access Point seems a first-runner (and pricier)!
  2. TP-Link Omada series ? Any recommendations for this one.
  3. Ruckus AP’s ? Am somewhat concerned about the amount of technical setup!
  4. Any recommendations on other AP’s to consider, besides CBW ?

Looking forward to the sharing of knowledge from more experienced users .
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I am sure that @coxhaus and @Trip will show up to help soon.
 

follower

Senior Member

Hello everyone… I have been lurking around this forum and have found/read a lot of very valuable information. After all my research, I have come down with a high-level plan to address some immediate needs; while considering how to further expand/improve my SOHO network down the line.


CURRENTLY SEEKING ADVICE HERE for a “future-proof” L3 PoE+ Switch that I need to purchase:
  • Only needs Local Management (no remote access required).
  • Prefer No license purchases or yearly subscriptions.
  • Ideally with a “Set-and-forget” setup, preferably with GUI to assist in VLAN configuration.
  • 8-to-10 PoE ports with a Minimum of 120W, preferably fanless.
  • Willing to consider 2.5 Gbps, or 5 Gbps link speeds (have 3 runs of Cat5e available for now).
  • Will likely have to add some Ethernet cables for Stage 2 anyway! (either more Cat5e or install Cat6)

Comments please for the following L3 PoE Switches:
  1. Cisco CBS series vs Cisco SG series:
    • Differences worth the price gap for the CBS series?
    • Worth going for CBS series right away?
  2. Wondering if a Netgear switch is a good candidate:
    • However, have read that their VLAN is not "reliable" !
    • Comments welcomed on Netgear L3 PoE 8-10 ports Switches ( Min 120W ) !
  3. Also checked many reviews for other brands. I am now very conflicted on which other switches are worth considering at this point:
    • ZyXel, HP, Ubiquiti, ???
    • Any informed recommendations are welcomed!

As additional background:
The current setup is very basic and has all of the devices running via Wi-Fi from the ISP-provided Gateway (Technicolor Model XB6 CGM4140COM), which also includes 4 Wireless 4K TV Players. The Gateway is using a Shaw(ISP)-specific FW with little manual configuration options & no VLAN features that I can find! This currently supports all my devices: 2 Laptops, 2 Smart Phones, 1 HP Wi-Fi Printer, 1 NVIDIA Shield, 4 Wireless 4K TV Players and a number of Smart Devices: 1 Google Nest Audio + 1 Google Home + 2 Google Minis.

There are also a number of IoT Devices that I acquired but have not installed them yet as I want to implement network segmentation for all IoT devices and better security in separating devices into various subnets.

After much reading, it seems that the “best practice” would be to add a L3 Smart Managed Switch as the “core switch” at this time along with PoE capabilities to later expand the network with further PoE Devices! After looking up L3 Switches, I am uncertain about the best fit and seeking some recommendations for it.

NOTE: I also have 2 personal routers that have not been installed yet:
  • Netgear Nighthawk R8000P
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000

My current thinking would be to update the network in 2 phases (… but open to “better” suggestions):

Phase 1 - For immediate needs:
  1. Put the ISP-Provided Gateway in bridge mode and install the Netgear R8000P as the “primary router” along with a new L3 PoE switch candidate (model to be determined).
  2. The other Netgear R7000 router could then be connected to the L3 Switch on a dedicated VLAN for the IoT WiFi devices using 2.5 Ghz frequency.
  3. Decision to be made on selection of the appropriate L3 PoE Switch to get, based on responses to initial question.
Phase 2 - For future expansion:
  1. Really like what I have read on the Asus RT-AX86U Router so far.
    • Keeping an eye on it for possible later addition. May make it the Primary Router down the road.
    • Also keeping an eye on RMerlin FW for it
  2. Will likely add some PoE Security Cameras at some point as well!

  3. Will later include some newer AP’s (replacing the Netgear routers), powered from the L3 Core PoE Switch.

Considerations, so far:
  1. Cisco CBW Access Point seems a first-runner (and pricier)!
  2. TP-Link Omada series ? Any recommendations for this one.
  3. Ruckus AP’s ? Am somewhat concerned about the amount of technical setup!
  4. Any recommendations on other AP’s to consider, besides CBW ?

Looking forward to the sharing of knowledge from more experienced users .
10gb switch then?
 
Last edited:

ldesmar

Occasional Visitor
I think that 10 Gbps is an overkill and too expansive for the moment.
Any other specific HW recommendations that may fit the details previously listed?
 

follower

Senior Member
I think that 10 Gbps is an overkill and too expansive for the moment.
Any other specific HW recommendations that may fit the details previously listed?
If it's too expansive this is the problem.
'Willing to consider 2.5 Gbps, or 5 Gbps link speeds'
What is your budget?
 
Last edited:

thecheapseats

Regular Contributor
not a single issue from Cisco SG series for over ten-plus years...

eight switches, various 10, 28 and 52 ports, still in use from sg300 (now EOL), to 350, 500 and sg550x (some POE)... 1g and10g doing L2 to L3 tier and stack duties for two discreet lans to two wan connections at same location (home cable and a biz-isolated bonded-telco point to point)...

granular vlan control with serious aggregate thru-put and cisco switching lineage/chops - however they use a subset of the 'big' cisco CLI switch os... gui if you need it... not nutty money, but they're not toys either and are priced accordingly... get your backbone 'right' and tight - routers and APs are consumables...
 
Last edited:

Trip

Very Senior Member
@ldesmar - For this use-case, I'd stick with Cisco. For multi-gig you'd need to look at SG, but they'll likely be out of your price range, noisier and earlier EOL. If you can get away with gigabit (don't see why most home use-cases wouldn't be able to), I'd opt for silence/fanless and longer support life and go CBS. Here's the comparison matrix of CBS250 and 350. I'd probably go CBS350-8FP-2G. Eight access ports with 120W of PoE+ across all ports; 2 dual-personality RJ45/SFP dedicated uplink ports; internal power supply; passively cooled/fanless with fins. Tank-like build quality. Make sure you buy from a legit channel partner - no Amazon nonsense ($313 at ProVantage currently).

Put CBW wifi on top and you'll have a carrier-grade LAN and WLAN that just works. Working-pull used Ruckus is also an option, as long as you don't mind having to potentially flash the latest Unleashed firmware (free from Ruckus with a support account), then go through the <10 minute setup (about the same level of difficulty as Cisco CBW).
 

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