D-Link xStackDGS-3426P review
More commonly associated with budget-priced, small-business networking, D-Link’s new xStack range of Ethernet switches shows it’s also keen to rub shoulders with the big boys. On paper, the DGS-3426P looks capable of holding its own in the competitive mid-range Layer 2 switching market, as it delivers a full range of features.
For your money, you’re getting 24 copper Gigabit Ethernet ports and all are 802.3af PoE compliant. A key feature we’re now seeing on PoE switches is that they all have power supplies with enough grunt to supply 15.4W to all ports. Expansion options look good, as the switch has a quartet of dual-personality SFP ports for Fibre Gigabit uplinks, while two slots at the rear accept a range of 10-Gigabit Ethernet modules. A dual-port copper 10GbE module is available, but if you want fibre connections you’ll need to install D-Link’s XFP module first, which the relevant SFP transceiver plugs into.
For installation, you can go for the CLI, but it’s far easier to assign the switch an IP address and move over to the web-browser interface. General design could be better, as it looks a tad rudimentary, but the interface does provide easy access to all the switch functions. Monitoring facilities are particularly good. You can view graphs of CPU and port utilisation along with packet-size distributions and errors, and the switch maintains a detailed log. The switch can be placed in a virtual stack comprising multiple units, which can be managed from a single interface regardless of their physical location.
Along with plenty of QoS services, the switch offers an interesting selection of security features. Port locking stops the switch learning any new MAC addresses, and 802.1x port-based authentication via a RADIUS server is supported. Management access can be restricted to four trusted IP addresses and stricter authentication schemes such as TACACS can be applied.
With a total of 370W to play with, it’s possible to power 24 devices with 15.4W, but should this limit be exceeded you can apply priorities to each port to ensure critical devices aren’t switched off first. You can reduce the maximum power available if you wish, and set the switch to power off low-priority devices or deny devices from drawing power. We tested PoE functions using an Axis 212 PTZ camera (see issue 147, p159), which worked fine with the switch.
For SNMP management, D-Link bundles a 60-day trial version of its D-View software. This runs a discovery on the selected address range and populates a table with all SNMP-enabled devices. It provides a reasonable level of information about each managed device and can send out emails in response to SNMP traps.
The DGS-3426P is a close competitor to the PC Pro Recommended HP ProCurve Switch 3500yl-24G-PWR (see issue 145, p150). Price-wise, there’s no difference, while expansion and virtual stacking capabilities are also on a par with each other. However, our money is on the HP, as it has a higher backplane capacity of 101Gb/sec, offers more security features, basic Layer 3 routing and its freely available ProCurve Manager software is superior to D-Link’s D-View.