Buying 3COM or HP Procurve or Cisco

Dear all,

We are a small company (20 employees and we will be at most 40 within

2 years) and I am thinking about my network equipement (switches).

My need are rather simple : connect user computers to switchs, connect FW/Router to switch and AD/Fileserver to switch. Maybe a couple of VLAN will be need and I see no other need right now.

For me it seems that both cisco, hp and 3com are able to do what I need and maybe at lot more.

3com is about 1/3 of the price of a cisco (2960) and HP 1/2 of a cisco (2960) for more or less "equivalent" models.

Is 3com a bad choice ?



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I have never liked 3Com switches. I have had experience with them many times over the years and never had good luck. I have never seen a low-end

3Com switch that has any type of management interface. Basically you just plug stuff in and it works, but if there is a problem there is no way to see if you have errors and such. I have not used any of 3Com's latest products so this may no longer be true. I have also had many bad experiences with 3Com support over the years, and I would characterize my support experiences as a complete lack of support.

I have also had experience with the HP Procurves, and they are a very fine switch. Full management capability and rock solid operation, and great support. I believe that the HP's also come with a lifetime hardware warranty and lifetime software support (as does the Cisco 2960). When asking for a recommendation for switches I always recommend the HP because it has most of the same capabilities as the Cisco, but at half the price.

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As a contrary view, we have used 3Com switches for many year and have nearly 1000 of various models. They aren't necessarily brilliant but they are cheap and we have a lot of experience invested in them. We've been VERY careful which models we've used over the years - some are fine some ... aren't. We are currently buying whatever 4400s are still available (actually they may all be gone now) and 5500s and 5500Gs. We passed on the 4500 and on many other products over the years.

Our Engineering and Informatics Schools use Procurves and are very happy with them.

We have used Cisco edge switches in various contexts but generally any advantages have been outweighed by the price disadvantage. We also have some small experience of Allied Telesis GigE switches (they fit in places where a 3Com 5500G won't) and they seem OK.

Sam Wilson Network Team, IT Infrastructure (formerly Computing Services) Information Services, The University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

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Sam Wilson


You are right. Go for the switch you feel for.

HP is my recommendation.

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Helge Olav Helgesen

Hm, we are currently dropping our 3Com switches in favor of HP. Reason:

- hard- and software support is a lot better with HP and cheaper

- if you have no software contract with 3Com it is virtually impossible to report a bug

- the feature set of HP is very similar to Cisco's and the user interface as well (our routers, firewalls and some switches are from Cisco)

- some bad experience with incompatibilities between old and new 3Com switches

I am talking about manageable switches here. You'll need these if you intend to setup VLANs.

Regards, Christoph Gartmann

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Christoph Gartmann

i say HP Cisco will cost you more and have way more features than what most people require (you pay for what you get, and you wont need all these extra features) You should be able to get by on HP, i would talk to a HP sales guy to ensure that can provide you with what you require from your network.

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For a company of your size and requirements, HP is the right choice, you'll never use the advanced features that the Cisco has (which the other 2 don't).

Reply to
Johann Lo

Hey Matthieu,

Cisco does have the portfolio to do what you request and much more. Cisco does care greatly about the SMB market and is making a strong presence there. In fact, they have Systems Engineers devoted specifically to the SMB market and will give you a free consultation on your network (3Com and Procurve won't do that). The one thing that stands out about Cisco from 3Com and Procurve is that Cisco is able to handle all of your needs as well as provide the best customer support in the industry. 3Com is a bad choice because they are going through high financial instability and were recently purchased by Huawei. Huawei has been known to over promise, under perform, and use their customers as guinea pigs. The 2960 is a great switch that can handle multiple VLANs which you require. It comes in a range of sizes (8/24/48) and even has POE up to 24 ports on some models in case you look to upgrade to IP phones in the future or put in a wireless access point. The 800 and 1800 series ISR routers can do your firewall, internet connectivity, wan connectivity, and even be remotely managed. Speaking of remote management, you can even manage the switch from home in your pajamas if you have a network issue. If you are looking for cheap, that is not Cisco. If you are looking for quality then you are looking at Cisco. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


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The thing that I can say for Cisco equipment is that you can get a Smartnet contract that will provide support for the units you have. The cost of Smartnet contracts are not expernsive. You renew them annually (or not renew them, your choice).

Most new Cisco equipment comes with a one year Smartnet contract. You decide whether or not to renew it.

That way, if you need something specially configured, they'll telent (or SSH) into the unit and do it for you. And if the device(s) die, they'll replace or repair them for you.

I'd suggest finding about about Smartnet before you make any decisions. If you don't have any in house networking support persons, it's an inexpensive way to get the support you may need.

I can refer you to the company that sold me my Smartnet contract if you like. They got me a great price on it. Email me directly and I'll be glad to put you in touch with them.



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