FAQ Switches

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Frequently asked questions about ethernet switches

LANCOM switches are the perfect extension to a professional network architecture for every size. Whether you get unmanaged access switches for simple network scenarios, fully managed access switches for complex scenarios or even aggregation switches for hierarchical switch infrastructures.

Common questions

What is the difference between a fully managed access, an unmanaged access, and an aggregation switch?

The main difference between these types of switches are the range of feature sets and the ways they can be configured. Fully managed access switches can be controlled via a user interface which, for example, allows the management of authentications, port prioritization, VLAN setup, or the monitoring and blocking of ports. These functions are often essential in professional environments as they can increase security levels, contribute to effective networking, and thus save costs. Fully managed access switches offer the additional option of network orchestration by the LANCOM Management Cloud, and CLI-based configuration. LANCOM fully managed access switches also have a serial interface and enable virtual stacking. Unmanaged switches cannot be configured and are simply low-cost distributors in scenarios where the functions mentioned above are not required. On the other hand, LANCOM aggregation switches enable high-performance and hierarchical switch infrastructures to be set up and serve as the distribution basis for networking subordinate access switches.

When do I use which model of switch?

LANCOM switches in comparison of series

With the LANCOM switch series, LANCOM offers future-proof switch solutions for demanding edge networks of small and medium size at a fair price-performance ratio. All switches are perfectly suited for environments outside IT rooms due to the extra-quiet fans or their fanless design.

Aggregation switches

LANCOM aggregation switches enable the creation of high-performance, hierarchical switch infrastructures and form the distribution basis for networking subordinate access switches. Equipped with future-proof fiber-optic and multi-Gigabit Ethernet (mGbE) ports as well as high-throughput uplink and stacking ports, they form the basis for efficient and fail-safe networks. Stacking enables network expansion, redundancy scenarios, and single IP management.

Fully managed access switches

Companies that want to save costs and make optimum use of their capacities by means of network virtualization benefit from the intelligent fully managed switches, as they support up to 256 active VLANs and also have port prioritization according to IEEE 802.1p or TOS/DiffServ. LANCOM managed switches offer a versatile choice for small or home offices up to large networks with their 10-52 ports, depending on the model with additional PoE as well as models with 10G uplinks.

Support for Cloud-managed LAN / SD-LAN for automatic switch configuration, 1-click port profiles, and complete monitoring via the LANCOM Management Cloud also make handling your infrastructure extremely simple and efficient.

Unmanaged access switches

The LANCOM unmanaged switches GS-1108 and GS-1108P, with their 8 ports and optionally with or without PoE, form the perfectly matched basis for simple, smaller network environments such as offices, business premises, or home offices-at a very good price/performance ratio.

 

How are LANCOM switches and stacks integrated into the LANCOM Management Cloud?

All fully managed switches as of LCOS SX 3.0 are “cloud-ready” (look here for a detailed firmware overview). Integration into the LANCOM Management Cloud requires the serial number and a PIN, which are delivered with the device. Alternatively, you can generate an activation code via the user interface of the LANCOM Management Cloud. The device is then integrated into the Cloud with the help of LANconfig.

In the case of stacked switches, only one device license is required to conveniently pair the entire preconfigured stack with the LANCOM Management Cloud via the management switch. Find out more in this Design guide to switch stacking.

 

What are the benefits of managing a switch through the LANCOM Management Cloud?

The LANCOM Management Cloud handles the combined management and monitoring of the switches. This guarantees an excellent overview and maximum control over all of the switches on the network. Thanks to Cloud-managed LAN, you also benefit from radically simplified management that allows you to roll-out predefined configurations (e.g. LAG or PoE) to any number of devices simply by mouse click. Using 1-click port profiles in the monitoring overview, switch ports can be customized and assigned to the networks—including the VLAN settings.

With Cloud-managed switch stacking, switches in a stack also benefit from maximum reliability and switch capacity thanks to convenient pairing with the LANCOM Management Cloud. The cloud independently detects which and how many switches belong to the stack. LAGs (Link Aggregation Groups) and VLANs can be conveniently assigned to ports via the device view. These settings can also be applied to other ports by simply copying them.

 

What do we understand by Cloud-managed LAN or SD-LAN?

Cloud-managed LAN / SD-LAN from the LANCOM Management Cloud orchestrates the port profiles for each switch and automatically assigns the network configuration, such as the required VLANs. At the click of a mouse, switch configurations that are fully customized for the access points and routers at each site are rolled-out or updated simultaneously.

 

Why do you need the Layer-3 Lite features of the 3000 series?

Large network structures are often complex and transport large amounts of traffic. The GS-31xx range of switches is ideal for handing the load and for intelligent management of these demanding installations.

These support the underlying layer-3 static routing function, which relocates routing tasks from the router to the switch. Predefined network routes through one or more network segments make data exchange faster, especially where internal data volumes are high, and they reduce the load on the router. Router capacities are freed up to handle the external data traffic. This makes the entire network more efficient.

Furthermore, the fully managed switches of the 315xx series are equipped with a DHCP server. The switch is able to independently and automatically assign IP addresses to clients. The LANCOM GS-31xx series supports this basic layer-3 function and handles the IP management of the network connected to it.

 

How do LANCOM switches contribute to virtual networking?

VLAN-capable LANCOM switches can be integrated into LANCOM Advanced Routing and Forwarding. This function creates an infrastructure of different independent subnets (VLANs) which are only accessible to authorized users. With a single infrastructure, different network participants (employees, customers) have access to separate subnets, which prevents them from accessing information on the other networks. These switches provide a clean-cut separation of Wi-Fi subnets (VLAN) for forwarding into the wireline network. Because switches can recognize VLANs, they form the link between wireless LANs and wireline networks and serve as a basis for professional network virtualization. Professional networking has numerous other benefits: Shared infrastructure helps to improve efficiency when using existing hardware, so saving considerable costs by avoiding new purchases.

 

How long does the manufacturer warranty on the devices last?

Every day, our customers rely on products manufactured in Germany to the highest standards of quality. These quality standards also include fast support, just in case things should go wrong. For this reason the unmanaged and websmart switches come with a 2-year warranty. LANCOM fully managed switches come at least with an optional 5-year warranty on all components. You can also further secure your network by purchasing a Warranty Advanced Option, which guarantees an advance replacement by the next business day over the entire 5-year warranty period. And that's not all: The LANCOM switches with Limited Lifetime Warranty enjoy a continuing warranty up to the End of Life status of the device (max. 10 years), regardless of their operating time. Find out more in this infopaper.

 

Are the switches fit for the future?

Thanks to dual-stack implementation, the switches operate in pure IPv4, pure IPv6, or mixed networks. This means that it can be managed via both IP address standards, which makes it fully future-proof. The necessary level of security is provided by the IEEE 802.1X standard, which is used to manage network access rights. It handles the work leading up to the actual authentication at the network. In the simplest case, IEEE 802.11X requires the use of a managed “intelligent” network switch and a RADIUS server for authentication. Furthermore, LANCOM is a German company under German ownership and management, and as such it is not subject to the law or the influence of other states that demand the installation of backdoors or allow the capture of unencrypted data. This allows LANCOM to guarantee you a backdoor-free portfolio of products. LANCOM's own switch operating system LCOS SX comes with regular free updates and new features. It is programmed in the high-security environment at the LANCOM headquarters near Aachen, Germany.

 

Do the switches have redundancy mechanisms to increase operational reliability?

Yes. Managed and websmart switches from LANCOM support the rapid spanning tree protocol (RSTP) and the multi spanning tree protocol (mstp) as defined in the IEEE 802.1w and IEEE 802.1s standard. These protocols initially prioritize the fastest route in the network by deactivating slower redundant paths. If the prioritized route should fail the redundant paths are reactivated, providing data traffic with alternative routes and compensating seamlessly for the failure.

To realize link bundling and load balancing, our stackable access and aggregation switches additionally rely on LAGs (Link Aggregation Groups). Put simply, LAGs merge a number of physical connections between network devices into a single logical connection. If an active link fails, the other links in the group remain active and share the load of the data traffic between themselves. LACP, on the other hand, is part of the global standard IEEE 802.3ad and is therefore a protocol for the automatic configuration and maintenance of LAGs. Learn more in this Design guide on switch stacking.

 

Can PoE devices from other vendors be connected to LANCOM switches?

LANCOM switches support all devices compliant with the IEEE 802.3af or IEEE 802.3at standards.

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