The New Peplink SD Switch Hands On Review!
For years, Peplink has been in the business of creating innovative and reliable network hardware. With an impressive product line including routers that can combine the speeds of up to 13 WAN connections, enterprise grade access points, multicellular internet solutions, and InControl 2, a cloud based management tool, Peplink has had a solution for almost everybody. Now available at 3Gstore, the Peplink SD Switch is the latest addition to the Peplink Family.
Measuring in at 19”x16” in a 1U height, the switch is designed to be rack mounted. Because of this, all of the connections and indicators are on the face of the unit. From left to right you have a factory reset, status LEDs, management and console ports, a USB port, 24 ethernet ports, and 2 SFP+ ports. Around the back are two AC adapters and the case fans. As with all Peplink hardware, the Peplink SD Switch is designed to be reliable as well as keep the network up at all times. Inside the unit there are 3 power supplies to go along with the dual AC inputs. While running, power load balancing ensures longer life expectancy from the hardware, but also provides protection in the case of hardware failure. The Peplink SD Switch will stay powered even if 1 AC power source and 2 internal power supplies fail! The status LEDs show which AC inputs and power supplies are active for at a glance information right on the device.
All 24 ethernet ports are all PoE+ rated supporting standard 802.3at and 802.3af PoE powered devices. These 24 ports share a power budget of 850 watts making the Peplink SD Switch an incredible tool for connecting compatible devices. Many other 24 port PoE switches on the market have power budgets under 200 watts. If you were to attempt to use PoE with multiple high consumption power devices like IP cameras and a standard network switch, you could exceed the power budget causing devices to power down or even damage them or the switch. 850 watts on the Peplink provides plenty of capacity for even the most demanding of environments.
The Peplink SD Switch is also a powerful power management tool. Within the web interface and when connected to InControl 2, each ethernet port will show you its current PoE status and power consumption. The total power consumption for the switch is also displayed. As a power saving tool schedules can be applied to each port to power on and off as needed. A company using the SD Switch for connected IP phones can create a power schedule to turn the phones off after hours and power them back on when the business opens. Instead of keeping these phones powered 24 hours a day, the schedule can power them on just 12 hours a day when needed, cutting energy consumption in half! The scheduling can also be used to power on/off WiFi APs as needed. Guest WiFi can be disabled outside of work hours to prevent access to the network when it isn’t beneficial to the company hosting it.
The ‘SD’ in Peplink SD Switch stands for ‘Software Defined’ so aside from its scheduling and power monitoring features, it can be fully configured for any networking environment. With support for 802.1q VLAN tagging the switch makes management of enterprise networks a breeze. Individual ports can be named, set as access or trunk, told which VLANs it can access, and ports can even be managed in groups to simplify set up. Admin and read only users can be created for various levels of network monitoring and management, access to the web administration page can be configured by VLAN or RADIUS authentication in larger networks, e-mail alerts can be sent out for critical events, and SNMP allows for integration with existing tools for network management.
There is a USB port on the front of the Peplink SD Switch meant for Out of Band Management. While not available yet, this feature is coming in a future firmware update. By connecting a USB cellular modem to the SD Switch directly, the switch could be managed and configured even if the primary internet connection of the router was to fail. There are also two 10G SFP+ ports for high bandwidth network connectivity. We were unable to test these ports as we don’t have compatible networking equipment to connect.
By creating an InControl 2 account, configuring and managing one or multiple switches becomes simple. Add the device to IC2 by serial number, put it into a group, and in seconds the switch is being monitored through the cloud. You could assign a configuration file to a group to automatically push out to new switches in the field. Replacing an aging or unreliable switch with the Peplink SD Switch doesn’t have to be a burden. InControl 2 allows for no touch configuration. Just drop the hardware in and let IC2 do the rest.
InControl 2 will also group your switches across your entire network, allowing you to search for a device. You can quickly identify and locate problem devices across multiple switches even if they are deployed on opposite ends of the world!
3Gstore received a Peplink SD Switch for the purposes of testing the hardware, but we liked it so much we decided to keep it and make it part of our network! Because of the capabilities of the SD Switch, we were able to replace 2 other network switches. A PoE switch that powers our camera system and VoIP phones along with a 16 port unmanaged switch were replaced with a single SD Switch. Now we have expanded the use of PoE throughout our offices and warehouse and have also broken our network into multiple VLANs for better management. We were on the verge of running out of network addresses, and having all of our systems on one network was a challenge to manage. Now using the VLAN tagging on the switch we have actually made the network much easier to configure and make changes as needed. Connected to our InControl 2 account we have historical power usage and alerts letting us know the exact state of the network at all times. Even when away from the warehouse, anybody with InControl access can perform IT work which is especially handy if an emergency situation was to arise. Perhaps the most impressive, though not unexpected thing we have found in our time with the Peplink SD Switch is its reliability. This has been running non stop for almost 180 days at the time of this writing and we have not seen a single failure of any kind. If we had one complaint about the switch it is that the switches fans are loud during power up and can get loud under heavy load. However this is a minor complaint since the switch will likely be installed in a server rack or cabinet and away from people and unless really pushed hard it's very quiet.
(3Gstore Balance 380, Peplink SD Switch, and MAX BR1 Cellular Backup)
For more information on the Peplink SD Switch, visit 3Gstore.com. Not sure if a Peplink deployment is right for you? Contact the experts at 3Gstore and we’ll design a solution for your businesses unique needs.
24x 802.3at (PoE+) GE Ports
2x 10G SFP+ Ports
2x 100V-240V Redundant AC Power
3x Redundant Power Supplies.
850W PoE+ Power Budget
InControl 2 Cloud Management (1 year free!)
88Gbps Switching Capacity
19.1x 15.7 x1.7 inches