[K12OSN] Recommendations for gigabit switches?

Jeff Siddall news at siddall.name
Wed Feb 29 19:37:46 UTC 2012

On 02/28/2012 05:36 PM, Joseph Bishay wrote:
> I do understand the different between the unmanaged vs. managed
> switches in terms of controls, vlans, etc.  I guess my question more
> accurately is, in an LTSP environment (thin clients connecting to
> server) why do I need a managed server?

If you have a flat network and don't want to do anything special then 
yes, you can go entirely unmanaged.

However, even in a relatively simple environment, there are significant 
benefits to a managed switch, which I have listed below in my personal 
order of importance:

1. You can segregate traffic.  I have "privileged" ports that can reach 
the LTSP server plus other stuff like printers and file servers.  I also 
have public ports that are much more locked down.  VLANs enable this 
type capability.  You can also do handy stuff like using VLANs to allow 
separate client images.  If you configure the DHCP server with different 
options for different subnets (VLANs) then you can change how a client 
boots simply by changing it's switch port VLAN.  Because this is all 
done from an IP management interface there are never cables to pull to 
make changes so you can do pretty much anything remotely.  The related 
aspect of this is that you can also use VLANs in linux to allow a server 
to talk to multiple VLANs over a single physical NIC.

2. As others also noted, you can track down MAC addresses, find 
misbehaving NICs, traffic statistics, etc.

3. Fancy stuff, like LAG (link aggregation), or anything else that 
requires any amount of configuration, simply can't be done on an 
unmanaged switch.

4. If you get a L3 (routing) switch then you don't have to use servers 
for routing.  L3 switches offer much higher performance than software 

There are many more benefits also but that should give you some ideas.


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