If your network is due for a refresh what brand would you choose? Which is the best switch brand for a 600 port network? We recently sold 20 Juniper switches to an independent school in Brisbane and I’ve analysed why they choose Juniper over the other major brands. The first question we asked of course was “What are you looking for?”
Their plans to make a long-term investment in their network drove their requirements:
- Replace core and most edge switches; 40GbE capable links between switches, edge switches POE+.
- Use the redundant single-mode fibre links on campus to make the network resilient against link failures.
- Easy to manage.
- Resilient, able to meet future network challenges.
- Use a partner who understands the requirement, provides a solution to match and an implementation service to smoothly transition to the new equipment.
This was to be their "seven year" refresh so they aimed to make their purchase as future-proof as possible. (Surprisingly, the school still had a couple of switches in their network that were purchased seven years ago, so aiming for seven years was not unreasonable.)
After evaluating each brand's claims they decided on Juniper supplied by us and implemented by QANT Technology Solutions. The School were very complimentary about the planning and implementation provided by QANT and we would highly recommend them to anybody undertaking a major network refresh.
Their decision to choose Juniper was based on the following:
- Two models cover all their needs - the EX4600 core switch and the EX4300 - simple to spare for, less complexity using only two switch models across the entire campus.
- Both have 40GB native interfaces - a mandatory requirement for the school, for future-proofing their purchase. The EX4300 switches’ quad 40GbE QSFP+ ports can form a 320Gbps uplink to the EX4600 core switches and even provide 40GbE Access interfaces if ever required.
- Both have optional dual redundant load-sharing power supplies that are hot-insertable and hot-removable - improving uptime.
- Both switches run the Junos operating system - Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching (without software changes), routing, and security services. Using a single operating system across all switches simplifies management.
- The EX4600 core switches come with 24 x 10GbE ports. Fixed and optional modules provide up to 12 x 40GbE ports. To improve resilience against link failure the school proposed a mesh of three 40GbE redundant links using the virtual chassis feature. (Another close competitor had a maximum of only two 40GbE connections in the core switches they proposed, limiting both the number of redundant links and future network expansion options.)
- The Virtual Chassis feature in the EX4300 (up to 10 switches) allows groups of switches to be managed as one locally or across the campus simplifying management.
- Carrier grade switches - Juniper powers the world’s largest service provider networks.
- The entire network can be managed with Junos Space Network Director, allowing for centralised changes from single easy-to-use interface.
So if you are in the planning stages of a network refresh, I'd recommend looking at the merits of Juniper switching. If you're experiencing network issues that are potentially related to old-technology switches, feel free to get in contact and we can organise an audit of your network.