Cisco 200 Series Smart Network Switches for SMB, SOHO and Homes


Video Introduction:

The Cisco 200 Series smart network switches are targeted at users in SMB (Small & Medium Business), SOHO (Small Office Home Office) and Homes. These switches have Fast Ethernet models (24, 48 10/100 Mbps ports) and Gigabit Ethernet models (8, 18 – 50 Ports 10/100/1000 Mbps ports). Some models support POE (Power Over Ethernet), as well. You can go to the end of this article, if you want to know more about the individual switch models and their prices.

Let us look at the salient features supported by Cisco 200 Series network switches (and what they mean):

  • Category: The Cisco 200 Series switches are entry-level manageable/smart switches (limited management features, but sufficient for the targeted customer profile).
  • Set-up/Management: The Cisco 200 Series switches have simple, easy to use browser-based graphical user management interface (It is simple to use and hence configuration, management, troubleshooting can be done by non-technical personnel, with some learning/efforts).
  • Warranty: These switches come with limited lifetime warranty. But, software is warranted for 90-days, customers get free software updates for 1-year, 1-year limited warranty on fans/power-supply, 1-year telephone/online support and return-to-factory replacement, in case of serious hardware issues (It’s Cisco – So, you can expect the switches to be very reliable and in most cases you’ll never have to worry about warranty. But if you need hand-holding, you get it for one year. You can order an extended support package, though).
  • QoS: Basic QoS functionalities are supported to automatically identify the type of device and prioritize certain types of traffic (Good if you have to deal with a lot of real-time traffic like video, voice, etc.).
  • Security: This switch supports 802.1x port security (for secure authentication), RADIUS (Authentication, Authorization & Accounting) and MAC address lock-down. This switch also supports broadcast control (for limited DoS protection).
  • IPv6: Native IPv6 support, in addition to IPv4 (This is a type of IP addressing and IPv6 is the latest. Basically, IPv6 support future-proofs the switch).
  • Energy Efficiency/Power Savings: This switch supports IEEE 802.3az energy efficiency standard. In addition to that, it supports features like powering down the port when the link is not utilized, reducing power for shorter cables, etc.
  • FindIT: Through a web-browser toolbar, the user can obtain the device info, IP address info of all the devices connected to it (makes management simple and easy).
  • Expansion Ports: Most of the models in the Cisco 200 series (except the 8-port models) contain mini-GBIC expansion ports where one can connect optical fiber cables (with appropriate adapters, at extra cost) (As you may know, copper cables can be used only for connections less than 100 meters. For anything more than that, you need optical fiber cables. Generally, two switches that are far away are connected using OFC. This option is available and if you are buying this switch for a large campus, it might be useful later on). Besides, these expansion ports are in addition to the normal ports.
  • Automated device recognition: The Cisco 200 series switches support LLDP-MED (Link Layer Discovery Protocol) standard and hence they can automatically identify the type of device connecting to them, assign devices to the appropriate VLAN, assign appropriate QoS and other parameters (Makes life simple for administrators who have a fairly large/expanding network to set-up and administer).
  • Fanless design: Most Cisco 200 series switches use a fanless design. That makes them quiet, more reliable and saves power.
  • Link Aggregation/Port grouping: If you have a busy network and many users accessing the server/NAS box (for example), you can connect more than one cable between them and this switch and trunk multiple cables together. So, in place of 1000 Mbps (single link) connection, you can get 2000 Mbps/4000 Mbps (multiple links, treated as single link) connections. (Very useful. Many users buy this switch for its link aggregation capability, which is generally available only in enterprise models). Also, it is possible to group up to 8 ports and create 4 such groups, which these switches.
  • VLAN/Network Segregation: Based on the model, up to 256 VLAN’s are supported (In a medium-large network, if all the devices connect to the same network, the network might slow down due to the large broadcast domain. To avoid this, a network is subdivided into many sub-networks (logically) using VLAN).
  • IGMP Support: IGMP restricts multicast traffic to only those nodes they are intended for, hence avoiding network congestion/flooding. Up to 256 multicast groups are supported.
  • Rate Limiting: You certainly don’t want certain users/certain group occupying all the bandwidth and hence slowing down other users, do you? With rate limiting, you can set upper bandwidth limits for each port or each VLAN (user group) and if they exceed that threshold, they will be slowed down, not others.
  • Port Mirroring: Up to 4 source ports/VLAN can be mirrored to a single destination port (All the traffic from multiple ports are copied and sent out in another port. This is used for network analysis, call recording, etc.).
  • DHCP: Automatic assignment of IP addresses (Almost every network switch/router comes with this feature).
  • Jumbo Frames: The Cisco 200 series switches support Jumbo frames up to 10 KB (useful for faster transfer of large files).
  • Switch Reset: There is a hard-button for switch reset (If you mess up with the firmware, you know what to do!).
  • LED indicators: There are LED indicators for system, link, POE and speed (You know what is happening by just looking at the switch!).
  • Future upgrades: In USA and Canada, customers are eligible to get a rebate when you eventually upgrade this switch to another (similar or higher) Cisco switch in the future.
  • All metal frame: Protects the switch and makes it more durable.
  • Rack mountable: It comes in a rack-mountable form factor. If you have a network rack, you can just fix the switch directly into the rack.
  • Cisco brand: Cisco is easily the most popular networking company that makes reliable network equipment for large enterprises. Hence, if your buy a Cisco branded switch, you can be sure that you are not compromising on the quality, reliability and support.

Tips:

  • If you have any issues initially, try downloading the latest firmware version from the Cisco website and upgrade your switch.
  • The recommended maximum distance between switch-network device and switch-switch is 300′ (100 m).
  • Use good/branded network cables, preferably Cat 6 for best performance. Consider implementing a structured cabling network.

Limitations:

  • No CLI (Command Line Interface), only web-based GUI interface. Long-time Cisco enthusiasts might find this uncomfortable.
  • No routing capability (It’s just a Layer-2 switch, so this is understandable).
  • POE-enabled switches in the Cisco 200 series support POE only in half of the total number of ports. Even then, every switch has a certain POE budget (which is quite less, in this series) and hence the number of POE devices supported depends on the sum of individual device power ratings. If you are buying switches for connecting many POE devices, it maybe better to consider the Cisco 300 series switches, instead.

More information: Manufacturer’s web-page.

Cisco 200 Series (Non-POE) Network Switch Models:

  1. Cisco SF200-24 – 24 x 10/100 Mbps Ports & 2 x Combo SFP mini-GBIC/ RJ-45 (1 GE) ports; Switching capacity: 8.8 Gbps; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).
  2. Cisco SF200-48 – 48 x 10/100 Mbps Ports & 2 x Combo SFP mini-GBIC/ RJ-45 (1 GE) ports; Switching capacity: 13.6 Gbps; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).
  3. Cisco SG200-8 – 8 x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ports; Switching capacity: 13.6 Gbps; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).
  4. Cisco SG200-18 – 16 x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ports & 2 x Combo SFP mini-GBIC/ RJ-45 (1 GE) ports; Switching capacity: 36 Gbps; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).
  5. Cisco SG200-26 – 24 x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ports & 2 x Combo SFP mini-GBIC/ RJ-45 (1 GE) ports; Switching capacity: 52 Gbps; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).
  6. Cisco SG200-50 – 48 x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ports & 2 x Combo SFP mini-GBIC/ RJ-45 (1 GE) ports; Switching capacity: 100 Gbps; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).

Cisco 200 Series (POE) Network Switch Models:

  1. Cisco SF200-24P – 24 x 10/100 Mbps Ports & 2 x Combo SFP mini-GBIC/ RJ-45 (1 GE) ports; Switching capacity: 8.8 Gbps; POE Power budget: 100 W, Max no. of POE ports: 12; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).
  2. Cisco SF200-48P – 48 x 10/100 Mbps Ports & 2 x Combo SFP mini-GBIC/ RJ-45 (1 GE) ports; Switching capacity: 13.6 Gbps; POE Power budget: 180 W, Max no. of POE ports: 24;  Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).
  3. Cisco SG200-8P – 8 x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ports; Switching capacity: 13.6 Gbps; POE Power budget: 32 W, Max no. of POE ports: 4; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).
  4. Cisco SG200-26P – 24 x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ports & 2 x Combo SFP mini-GBIC/ RJ-45 (1 GE) ports; Switching capacity: 52 Gbps; POE Power budget: 100 W, Max no. of POE ports: 12; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).
  5. Cisco SG200-50P – 48 x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ports & 2 x Combo SFP mini-GBIC/ RJ-45 (1 GE) ports; Switching capacity: 100 Gbps; POE Power budget: 180 W, Max no. of POE ports: 24; Price/Buy from: Amazon (US).

Also consider/ Alternative (higher) model: Cisco 300 Series Network Switches.

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