Friday, May 31, 2013

Bought a Managed Switch

So, I bought the above switch.  It is a TP-Link TL-SG3216 16-Port Gigabit managed switch.  I got tired of my rat's nest connected to several hubs.  I used hubs because I wanted a cheap way of enabling sniffing network traffic (for my lab, which isn't really isolated from the rest of the network).

Well, I should've done this a LONG time ago, but I'm not sure if such equipment would've been more expensive 4-5 years ago.

I could've settled for an unmanaged switch, but I wanted port mirroring capability, as well as a slew of other options (gigabit speed, for example).  It took me a long time to find a switch that had everything I wanted.  This switch is actually a home/SOHO switch.  I like the management interface (unlike a lot of Netgear's switches, you're not stuck with having to use a Windows machine to access the switch).  It is fully configurable.  I've never managed an L2 switch before, so this will also be a learning experience for me (I can study up on how to set up VLANs).  I can manage it via CLI as well, using an SSH shell or console port (it comes with console port cabling).

This switch wasn't cheap (wasn't expensive, either).  I found it on Amazon for $180...that's the cheapest I found it.

So, I unplugged everything from my two hubs (an 8-port and a 4-port) and plugged them into the new switch.  I'm actually using 10 of the 16 ports (I was able to remove the two link cables that attached the hubs to the gateway, so I freed up some cabling and ports in upgrading to a managed L2 switch.  Still, I'm using half of the ports already.  It makes me wonder if I should've went bigger, but this was as big as my wallet allowed at the time.  If I find I need more ports later, I can alway buy an 8-port TP-Link, I guess.

I'll begin to set up port mirroring soon.  I'll be mirroring all used ports (9).  I believe this switch is capable of mirroring 15 ports to one port.  I'll be able to cover almost every part of my network, with the exception of my Powerline connections (there's 3 of these).  I won't be able to monitor those because the main adapter has to be plugged into the gateway router, which I won't be managing.  And if/when I connect my gaming system into the switch, that will eat up another port.  I might have to order another switch sooner than I think.  :/

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