Stack Switch: Optimize Your Network Performance to the Maximum

Stacking switch is a common technology used in network design, especially when large numbers of ports are required in data centers or large size networks. Stack switch not only provides high performance, but also maximizes network scalability and simplify network management. That’s why stackable switches are popular among network builders. Then what is stack switch? What’s the common way for switch stacking in the market?

What Is Stack Switch?

Stack switch, also called stackable switch by vendors, allows several switches to stack via specific stackwise port or uplink port. Traditionally the switches stacked together usually is limited to the same series of network switches. Mixed switch stacking is allowed for today’s switches. The number of stacked switches is often determined by switch brand. For example, Cisco 3850 stack switch can have a maximum of eight switches to be stacked, while Dell N4000 series stack switches are up to twelve. When switches are stacked, all members in this stack share the same IP address and can be managed as “one unit” through the CLI (command line interface) or embedded Web interface, which offers great convenience for network administrators without lowering its performance.

FS stack switch

Usually stack switches come with fixed configuration like 12, 24, or 48 gigabit Ethernet ports. Compared with modular switches that allow line cards or service modules in and out as needed, stack switches are more cost-effective in enterprise campus networks which offer endpoint connectivity and uplink capabilities for users at a price per port. Therefore, for those who has limited switch port or enterprise networks that lack of physical expandability, stack switch is an excellent choice for network expansion.

How to Achieve Network Switch Stack?

From the first generation of of Cisco 3750 series stack switches, the stackable Ethernet switch market has become more mature, so does the switch stacking technology. Like Cisco, other network switch vendors like Dell, Brocade and FS.COM also add their own unique features and functionality to their stack switches, which enhance the virtuous circle of switch stacking technology development.

The typical method for switch stacking is to use stacking cable via stackwise port. Take Cisco 3750 series stack switches for example. Stackwise port lies on the rear-panel. Only approved cables can be used to connect the 3750 stack switches with other similar switches. If not, devices easily get damage. In addition, Cisco offers different connection types for this stack: full bandwidth connection and half bandwidth connection, which provide great flexibility for different application requirements.

stack switch with stackwise-cable

Another way to achieve switch stack is to use the uplink ports. As has mentioned, many switch vendors upgrade the switch stacking technology to improve their competitiveness. Today’s stack switches can be stacked using several types of Ethernet ports such as 10GBASE-T copper port, 10G SFP+ fiber port and 40G QSFP+ port. Here take FS S3800-24F4S stackable managed switch as an example. As shown in the following picture, in the stack, one fiber cable from a 10G SFP+ port on a stack switch is connected to a SFP+ stacking port on the next switch. This process is repeated until all of the devices are connected. And the first stack switch is also connected with the last one to complete the stacking topology.

FS stack switch with SFP+ uplink


Stack switch, no matter uses stack cable or SFP+ stacking/uplink port, provides high bandwidth port density and easy management for network design. But compared with the way of using stack cable, stacking/uplink port is more cost-effective. Besides, using fiber uplink port to stack switch can realize long distance stacking in different areas, which are more popular in today’s network infrastructures.

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Recommendations on “Managed” Fanless Gigabit Switch 24-Port or Less

When will we consider to buy a managed fanless Gigabit switch 24-port or Less? Common situations where we use fanless Gigabit managed switches are for small office connectivity or for home lab upgrading. In these occasions, we pursue the speed of Gigabit because they can improve the end user experience or enhance work efficiency. At the same time, we require the machine to cause low noise so users in these environments will not be disturbed. As for the management functions, different people want different levels of managing of their network. But in overall managing a fanless Gigabit switch 24-port or less is not expected to be as complex as managing an fully-managed switches. Otherwise, the user experience will not be enhanced but in contrary be decreased. This post will recommend some easily managed 8-24 ports fanless Gigabit switches. For more information of whether to choose a fanless switch or with fan switch, please read the post Should You Buy a Fanless Switch or Switch With Fan?

managed fanless gigabit switch 24-port

Recommend Managed Fanless Gigabit Switch 24-Port or Less

A fanless switch usually will not be more than 24 ports. When a switch has more than 24 ports, for example, in a 48-port switch the power supply has to be big enough and there are many ships inside the box, if there’s no fans the air flow might become a problem. So the fanless Gigabit managed switches that we’re going to recommend will be 24-port or less. And they are all non-PoE switches.

Managed Fanless Gigabit Switch 24-Port

There are many fanless Gigabit switches that are 24-port in the market, and the five models that we’re going to recommend are from four brands. They are HP Procurve 1800-24G, 1810-24G smart-managed Gigabit switch, Cisco Catalyst 2960XR-24TS-I 24-port fanless Gigabit switch, FS S2800-24T4F fanless 24-port Gigabit managed switch and Zyxel GS1900-24 smart managed switch.

Table 24-port fanless gigabit managed switch

They have some characteristics in common that make them suitable for being used in places like home office and small office. The similarities of them include low power consumption and Gigabit fiber uplink ports. And of course the most important property is that they are silent in operation.

Another key factor that makes these five Ethernet switches qualified in the managed fanless Gigabit switch 24-port list is their management function. These five switches are all managed switch that provide full layer 2 traffic management features and simple network management via Web GUI.

Cost-wise the HP 1800-24G, HP 1810-24G, FS S2800-24T4F and Zyxel G1900-24 are all good choices. The Cisco Catalyst 2960XR-24TS-I will cost more than the other four but it surely provides more some more advanced features belonging to layer 3. If we need stronger data transferring capability, Cisco Catalyst 2960XR-24TS-I is a good choice considering its backplane and forwarding rate.

In terms of the power consumption, we can notice that among them the two switch models FS S2800-24T4F and Zyxel G1900-24 consumes up to 20W power, while the FS S2800-24T4F provides two more combo Gigabit SFP/RJ45 ports for up-linking. The cost of buying a brand new fanless Gigabit switch 24-port FS S2800-24T4F or a Zyxel G1900-24 is near, too.

24-port fanless managed switch fs S2800-24T4F

Managed Fanless Gigabit Switch 8/12-Port

If we have only a few devices to be connected to a fanless switch, then we can take 8/12-port fanless Gigabit switch into consideration. There are some good 8-port or 12-port fanless Gigabit managed switches popularly used by end users as well.

The HP 1800-8G and HP 1810-8G are two 8-port fanless Gigabit switches. They both have 8 10/100/1000BASE-T ports. They are cost-effective fanless switches if we do not require CLI management, STP (Spanning Tree Protocol) or other advanced management features. The HP 1800-8G/1810-8G has a switch capacity of 16 Gb/s and a forwarding rate of 11.9 Mpps. The maximum power rating of HP1800-8G is 18W and the HP 1810-8G is 15W. Another two 8-port fanless Gigabit switches of Cisco 2960 and 2960G are also favorable options. They are the Cisco WS-C2960G-8TC-L and Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L.

The 12-port fanless Gigabit switch we want to recommend is Juniper EX2200-C12T-2G. It is a fanless Gigabit switch with 12 10/100/100BASE-T ports and 2 combo Gigabit SFP/RJ45 uplink ports. It is in standard 1RU package and the maximum power consumption is 30 W. In addition to all the layer 2 features, it also provides static routing.


Fanless Gigabit switch 24-port or less is best for use in environments that require low noise and Gigabit speed. And fanless Gigabit switch managed is a wise choice for users because it provides beneficial traffic control and network management ability.

Related Article: How to Build a Data Center of 40G Networking With 32-Port 40G Switch?
Related Article: How to Choose a Suitable 48-Port PoE Switch?

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Stackable 10Gbase-T Switch or Standalone 10Gbase-T Switch, Which One Is Better?

When searching for a 10Gbase-T switch, you may find some switches are labeled as stackable managed switch. What does stackable switch mean? What’s the difference between standalone 10Gbase-T switch and stackable 10Gbase-T switch? What kind of Ethernet switch should choose? Don’t worry. Keep reading this article.

What Is Stackable Switch?

Stackable switch means a network switch can be set up in a group to work with one or other switches. These switches are combined through connecting certain ports. Stackable switch can also operate as a standalone switch.

One thing you should notice is that “clustering” is not as the same as “stackable”. Though some switches appear in a single unit, actually these are “clustering switches” and must be managed and configured individually. They don’t have any stacking capability which allow you to configure, manage and troubleshoot all switches in a stack as a single unit.

Should We Buy Stackable 10Gbase-T Switch or Standalone 10Gbase-T Switch?

Switch is the most important device to receive, process and transmit data information in a network. At the same time, 10Gbase-T switch is not cheap. Buying an inappropriate switch not only influences network data quality but also leads to cost waste. To select a stackable 10Gbase-T switch or a standalone 10Gbase-T switch, we should know advantages and disadvantages of each switch before making decisions.

Stackable Switches Features

Some business choose to install stackable switches because of their advantages, for instance, simplicity, scalability, and flexibility. Since stackable switches work as one single switch, it’s easier to manage and set up the network. If we need to add more ports to current network, we can simply buy another stackable switch and add it to the stack. Although stackable switches have so many advantages, they still have some disadvantages. First, when one of stackable switches stops working, cable connections would fail and these cables should be reset or replaced. Therefore, we have to bring down the entire stack. Second, when lots of data transmitting over these switches in a stack, the speed of the stack ports and the ring architecture of the stack can cause bad influences.

Standalone Switches Features

Standalone switches don’t have stacking ports, so they can’t be connected together to work like a single switch. That causes inconvenience to scale because we have to connect each switch to the distribution layer. For larger deployments, it would cost more. But standalone switches work well in small server room or data center.

Recommendation of Standalone 10Gbase-T Switch and Stackable 10Gbase-T Switch

In a small campus deployment or data center with limited space, standalone switches are popular as top-of-rack switches. Here is a standalone 10Gbase-T switch. S5850-48T4Q switch supports 48 10Gbase-T ports and 4 40G QSFP+ ports. It’s designed to be applied in Enterprise, Data Center and Metro network. To know more details about this switch, you can also read this article.


Unlike standalone switch, stackable switches work in different environments. As mentioned above, stackable switches can be combined into one single unit. So if you need to scale network, you can choose stackable switches which is more helpful to manage and troubleshoot. Well, I’d like to recommend another 48-port 10Gbase-T switch to you. Cisco SG350XG-48T is one of Cisco 350X series switches which are truly stackable. It has two combo ports, one for copper and one for fiber. This switch can be stacked up to 4 units, 192 10Gbase-T ports in one single unit. When combining switches into a stack, don’t just connect all these devices. Remember to make the stack work normally. It’s not easy to match all stackable switches. If you don’t know how, you should follow experts’ guidelines to do the configuration. FS.COM provide a full range of 10gb switch for your option.

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10GBase-T Switch Recommendations

10 Gigabit Ethernet network is popular in data center now. 10GbE interfaces mainly include SFP+, SFP+ direct attach cable, and 10GBase-T. Most data centers choose connection of SFP+ and SFP+ DAC. As 10GBase-T offers benefits of improved bandwidth, increased flexibility, infrastructure simplification, cost reduction, 10GBase-T interface is more and more widely used. To build 10Gbase-T connection, you need an indispensable equipment- 10GBase-T switch. As some are confused about choosing 10GBase-T switch, this article will recommend several 10GBase-T switches and hope that can help you.

10GBASE-T Switch Recommendation 1–Cisco Nexus 5596T Switch

Cisco plays a leading role in optical communication industry. Cisco Ethernet switch is famous for its high quality and is always the first choice of some data centers. Cisco Nexus 5596T switch is one of Cisco 10Gbase-T switch. Let’s get a close look at it.

Cisco Nexus 5596T switch has 96 ports, including 32 fixed 10Gbase-T ports and 16 fixed SFP+ ports in a compact 2RU form factor. It’s configured with three expansion modules which can be used to increase the number of 10Gigabit Ethernet, FCOE ports, Unified Ports, or to connect to 1/2/4/8 native Fibre Channel ports. Throughput of Cisco Nexus 5596T Switch can reach up to 1.92 Tbps. With Cisco Nexus 5596T 10gb switch you can enjoy the benefits of 10GBASE-T technology and its simplicity, speed, and design flexibility.

10GBASE-T Switch Recommendation 2–Arista Networks 7050T-64 Switch

Arista 7050T-64 10Gbase-T switch is one of Arista 7050TX series, which show obvious advantages in performance, scale and power efficiency in fixed 10G data center switches. The 7050T-64 switch offers 48 auto-negotiating 1Gb/10GBase-T ports with standard RJ45 interfaces and 4x40G QSFP+ ports. Each QSFP+ port can operate as four independent 10G ports to provide 64 10G interfaces. As data center server access, 7050T-64 switch offers backwards compatibility with existing standard Gigabit Ethernet cabling and saves cost on migration to 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

10GBASE-T Switch Recommendation 3–FS S5850-48T4Q Switch

S5850-48T4Q switch, offered by FS.COM (Fiberstore), is a high performance Ethernet switch applicable Metro, Data Center and Enterprise network. This switch has 48 10Gbase-T ports with standard R45 interfaces and 4x40GbE QSFP+ ports in a compact 1RU form factor. It supports operating rates of 1Gbit/s, 10 Gbit/s, 40 Gbit/s, 100Gbit/s and auto-negotiation. The S5850-48T4Q comes with complete system software with comprehensive protocols and applications to facilitate rapid service deployment and management for both traditional layer2/3 networks and Data Center networks. S5850-48T4Q 10Gbase-T switch stands out because of many advantages. With pluggable redundant fans and power supply, it supports 1+1 redundancy. And the temperature and status of fans and power supply can be real-time monitored by the system. The fan supports intelligent speed control function, green and energy-saving. This is a low power consumption and low latency 10Gbase-T switch.


Comparison of Cisco & Arista & FS 10Gbase-T Switches

From switch appearance, these switches has different numbers of 10Gbase-T ports. From switch property, Cisco Nexus 5596T switch and Arista 7050T-64 10Gbase-T switch are traditional switches while FS S5850-48T4Q switch is OpenFlow/SDN (Software Defined Network) switch. What is SDN switch and what is the difference? You may be not very clear about this. An SDN switch is a software program or hardware device that forwards packets in a software-defined networking (SDN) environment. This kind of switch separates the data plane from the control plane. The data plane is implemented in the switch but the control plane is implemented in software and a separate SDN controller makes high-level routing decisions. The switch and SDN controller communicate by OpenFlow protocol. However, in a traditional switch, packet forwarding and high level routing are implemented in a same device. Another difference that can’t be ignored is the price. Cisco Nexus 5596T switch is about $40,500. Arista 7050T-64 is about $15,829.64. And FS S5850-48T4Q switch $4,599.

I have recommended three 10Gbase-T switches in this article, traditional or SDN switch, expensive or cheap type. By the comparison above, you can decide which one you’ll choose. More conveniences, here I recommend 10Gbase-t SFP+ transceivers for your 10Gbase-T switches.

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VXLAN vs VLAN: Which Is the Best Fit for Cloud Data Center?

Traditional VLAN links have been proven insufficient to cope with rigid requirements of cloud providers – as they are reaping significant benefits by stretching Layer 2 over Layer 3 network to build large multitenant data centers. VXLAN (Virtual Extensible Local Area Network) technology is proposed to extend VLAN and overcome the limited scalability posed by VLAN. The VXLAN provides layer 2 connectivity extension across the layer 3 boundary, enabling large-scale virtualized and multitenant data center designs over a shared common physical infrastructure. This article sticks to the basics of VXLAN and the difference between VXLAN vs VLAN.

VXLAN vs VLAN: A Quick Overview

VXLAN is a network virtualization scheme that enables users to create a logical network for virtual machines (VMs) across different networks. That is to say, it allows you to create a layer 2 network on top of layer 3 through encapsulation. What to emphasize is that you could potentially create 16 million networks using VXLAN, compared to the 4096 VLANs. In this case, VXLAN technology enables network to support far more VLANs. As a result, more logical network isolation for large networks can house much more virtual machines.


VXLAN vs VLAN: Why Choose VXLAN Instead of VLAN?

VXLAN allows you to create smaller layer 2 domains that are connected over a layer 3 network. Which eliminates the need to use Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) to converge the topology – but with a more robust routing protocols in the layer 3 network. Without STP, none of your links are blocked, so you can obtain full value from all the ports you purchased. VXLAN also enables you to load-balance the traffic to get the best use of your available bandwidth. These all makes sense to maximize data center performance.

VXLAN for cloud data center

VXLAN makes a dramatic difference for building cloud data centers. It lays the foundation of a scalable cloud network – where lots of logical networks can be created in a timely manner. This therefore satisfies the needs of the most complex and dynamic cloud. VXLAN, in fact, has successfully pushed the boundary of virtual machine migration beyond layer 2 domain.

VXLAN Technology: How to Understand it?

VXLAN uses Layer 3 multicast to support the transmission of multicast and broadcast traffic in the virtual network, while decoupling the virtual network from the physical infrastructure. In this environment, a VXLAN gateway device can be used to terminate the VXLAN tunnel and forward traffic to and from a physical network. Here are explanations assist in understanding VXLAN.


VXLAN gateway: A VXLAN gateway bridges traffic between VXLAN and non-VXLAN environments by becoming a virtual network endpoint. For example, it can link a traditional VLAN and a VXLAN network,

VXLAN segment: A VXLAN segment is a Layer 2 overlay network over which VMs communicate. Only VMs within the same VXLAN segment can communicate with each other.

VNI: The Virtual Network Identifier (VNI), also referred to as VXLAN segment ID. The system uses the VNI, along with the VLAN ID, to identify the appropriate tunnel.

VTEP: The VXLAN Tunnel Endpoint (VTEP) terminates a VXLAN tunnel. The same local IP address can be used for multiple tunnels.

VXLAN header: In addition to the UDP header, encapsulated packages include a VXLAN header, which carries a 24-bit VNI to uniquely identify Layer 2 segments within the overlay.

VXLAN vs VLAN: What Are the Advantages?

VXLAN is developed to provide the same Ethernet Layer 2 network services as VLAN does today, but with greater extensibility and flexibility. When it comes to segment your networks, VXLAN functions just like VLAN and possesses advantages VLAN don’t have. Here are the most significant benefits of using VXLANs.

  • You can theoretically create as many as 16 million VXLANs in an administrative domain, as opposed to 4094 VLANs.
  • VM can migrate between servers that exist in separate Layer 2 domains by tunneling the traffic over Layer 3 networks. So you can dynamically allocate resources within or between data centers without being constraint by Layer 3 boundaries.
  • Flexible placement of multitenant segments: VXLAN extends Layer 2 segments over the underlying shared network infrastructure so that tenant workload can be placed across physical pods.
  • Higher scalability to address more layer 2 segments: VXLAN uses a 24-bit segment ID, also known as the VXLAN network identifier (VNID), which enables up to 16 million VXLAN segments to coexist in the same administrative domain.
  • Better utilization of available network paths in the underlying infrastructure: VXLAN packets are transferred through the underlying network based on its Layer 3 header and can take complete advantages of Layer 3 routing and link aggregation protocols to use all available paths.
VXLAN: the Trend of Future Network

When compared VXLAN vs VLAN, VXLAN is no doubt a better solution with evident benefits: sufficient links and capacity to handle massive traffic in cloud environment. VXLAN technology is meant to provide same services connected to Ethernet end systems that VLANs do today, while offer a means to stretch L2 network over a L3 network. VXLAN assures clean isolation between VMs and physical IP-based transport infrastructure, and enables unsurpassed reliability and scalability to network. Just remember that we need VXLAN termination in physical devices, such as switches, firewalls and load balancers before we can start considering large-scale deployments.

Related Article: Why Leaf-Spine Architecture and How to Design It?
Related Article: QinQ vs VLAN vs VXLAN

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