Choosing the best campus switches for your network environment
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Although Huawei Technologies isn't a significant player in North America, in the rest of the world, it's one of the largest network manufacturers in the market. Huawei products range from common enterprise networking components -- routers, switches, firewalls and wireless -- to software and consumer products, including smartphones.
From a campus switch perspective, Huawei offers more than 100 well-equipped and appropriately priced options for the access, distribution and core infrastructure. The company boasts deployments in virtually all industry verticals, including enterprise, government, healthcare, finance and education.
What Huawei switches provide from the access layer
Toward the low end of Huawei's access switch lineup is its Layer 2 S5700-SI series. Here, you'll find a number of 1U, fixed form-factor switches with 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps small form-factor and SFP+ uplink options. Huawei has its own stacking technology, known as iStack, which can combine up to nine switches in a single stack. With a maximum RJ45 port density of 48 ports per switch, a stack of nine 48-port S5700-SI series switches can support up to 432 end devices in a singularly managed switch interface. Power over Ethernet plus is an optional upgrade for this series.
Stepping up from the S5700 into a more feature-rich, Layer-3-capable access switch, Huawei offers the S5720-EI series of enhanced switches. Aside from offering the same form factor and standard switching capabilities as the S5700-SI series, the S5720-EI offers additional switching throughput capabilities, larger media access control tables, and advanced Layer 2 and 3 switching features.
What these campus LAN switches provide for the core and distribution layer
On the low end of Huawei's modular core and distribution line are the S7700 Series Smart Routing Switches. These multilayer switches boast 10, 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity for easy long-term scaling of uplinks as the network expands to take on an increasing amount of throughput. The S7700 series can also be field-upgraded to act as a built-in wireless LAN controller and to support future software-defined networking capabilities.
The three models of the S7700 series support switching throughput between 1.9 Tbps and 3.8 Tbps.
Stepping up one level in performance are the Huawei S9700 Series Terabit Routing Switches. This series is touted by Huawei as being an excellent choice for the core layer in very large campus LANs. The S9700 series has built-in support for high-end capabilities, such as MPLS virtual private network, native virtual desktop switching, nonstop forwarding and in-service firmware upgrades. But the real reason to step up to the S9700 series is for performance. The low-end S9703 can switch up to 2.88 Tbps, while the larger 9712 switch can push 8.64 Tbps.
Pricing and support for Huawei switches
Enterprise-grade equipment manufactured by Huawei, including campus LAN Huawei switches, can only be purchased through a reseller partner. Pricing for Huawei switches is based on the switch hardware and software and support required, as well as the reseller's markup. Both the S5700 and S7700 series Huawei switches have a limited lifetime warranty, and the high-end S9700 series includes a 12-month hardware replacement warranty, with no additional support contracts required.
Huawei's enterprise support structure, HiCare, provides 24/7 technical assistance, enhanced hardware replacement service-level agreements, and access to download and install new software updates and patches.
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