Adtran NetVanta 1224STR PoE review

£1300
Price when reviewed

Adtran may have been established since 1985, but it’s still relatively unknown in the UK. Having spent most of its time focusing on the US network access market, it was only in 2004 that the company started to make a play over here. It has a truly impressive product portfolio and its NetVanta 1000 range of Ethernet switches offers a number of innovative features.

The NetVanta 1224STR PoE may look like a standard Ethernet switch, but behind its well-engineered exterior lies a range of unusual capabilities. Essentially, Adtran calls the 1224STR PoE an all-in-one product, as it combines Level 2 switching, Level 3 routing, firewalling and optional VPN capabilities. It may only sport 24 standard 10/100BaseTX ports, but all are 802.3af PoE enabled, and with 370W up for grabs it can supply a full 15.4W on each port. Consequently, there’s no need for the switch to incorporate power prioritisation and thresholds or report on available power and power used.

Along with the dual-speed ports, the 1224STR PoE offers two dual-personality uplink ports, so you can use either a copper or Fibre Gigabit connection. The switch also supports stacking of up to 16 units, allowing them all to be managed via a single IP address. And there’s much more, as the single expansion slot at the rear accepts Adtran’s network interface modules (NIMs), supporting a range of interfaces including ISDN, T1, E1 and serial WAN links. The review sample came equipped with an ADSL over POTS NIM, allowing the switch to provide firewall-protected Internet access to all connected devices.

Installation for remote management requires a trip to the CLI to assign an IP address to the default VLAN, after which you can use a browser. The interface provides a quick-start guide for configuring basic details such as port settings and VLANs. However, online help is in short supply and the web GUI manuals on Adtran’s website are too basic to be of any use.

Fortunately, configuring the ADSL NIM was straightforward. Simply add VPI and VCI values, select an interface mode, which in our case was the PPPoE client, and enter your ISP login details. The SPI firewall can be set up with a range of rules to determine how WAN traffic is handled and a wizard makes light work of initial configuration. It can automatically set up port-forwarding rules for mail, web and FTP servers that are behind the firewall to allow them to be accessed from the Internet. It will then set up Internet connection sharing on the selected interface and activate NAT for you. You can also create different firewall security zones, which contain multiple access rules, and these can be applied to selected ports. Wizards are provided for setting up IPSec VPN tunnels to remote peers, while QoS parameters for the WAN can be applied, so you could, for example, prioritise VoIP traffic.

At this price, smaller businesses with more basic network requirements may find it more cost effective to go for separates. However, combining such a wide range of features and expansion options makes the 1224STR PoE worth checking out if you’re planning to amalgamate network access and security services in a single unit.

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