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I need switches


Stranger Than Fiction
Political User
And soon!

We have 4 old as dirt generic switches. They represent a major bottleneck in the network. I've been given the go ahead to get quotes. Everyone I've talked to said HP provides the best bang for the buck with their procurve series.

So the first few quotes come in. Lowest price procurve is a $130, next step is $321 then $1200 then $1700 and finally $2900. Those numbers are the only thing I completely understand about the quote. The rest of it is greek to me. I can pick out bits and pieces I understand (POE, 10/100/100BaseT) but the rest makes me feel stupid. I don't know what a 4 x SFP (mini-GBIC) Shared is. I do some research and determine what we need (the middle range one is more than enough) and we decide to let the company that provides us that quote come out.

So they run through our closets, take some notes and come back with some f'd up pricing. The $1200 is no longer there. Now they have one starting at $2500 ranging all the way up to $21k! Needless to say, I'm pissed. I feel we've been jerked around and that they are just trying to milk us since they know we are in desperate need. So I say F-em. We'll get a new quote from someone who isn't treating us like we're gullible people shopping for used cars.

But I still don't know what to get. I need 4 24 port switches. Everyone talks about 10gb backbone so you're future-proofed. I don't even know if we can support that. I mean it's just CAT5 cable in the ceiling. I didn't think that was capable of those speeds. Does anyone have any recommendations?


Woah.. I'm still here?
Staff member
Political User
just saying you need 4 24 port switches doesn't really say anything other than basic needs..

do you need gig on all 24 ports? do you need it to be fully non-blocking so you'll need a bigger backplane? Do you want stackable switches? Why not 2x48 port switches? do you plan on doing fiber at any point? etc..

You really need to educate yourself as to what you really need or hire a someone either as consultant or FTE basis to take a look at your environment to determine what you need.

Do you need VLAN's? Multiple VLAN's? Any Layer 3 capability? Managability?

Ok.. not to be rude (i don't mean to come off as mean).. if you got by before with non-managed generic switches, why not go that route again? If you're looking to advance your infrastructure, then get someone that knows to look for and how to go about it..
Disregarding the tech side for now:
1) Ask them why the $1200 option disappeared. Does the higher pricing include on site tech support, them installing, etc? PS If someone shows up to do an estimate you are looking at commissions getting paid, etc. inflating the cost.

2) Ask them if they gold plated the formal quote or if the $1200 quote was just a come on scam. Personally I would use those exact words. If they are jerking you around, who cares about offending them. If they have legitimate technical reasons for the cost increase they should be willing to explain them and show details in the quote.

3) The jump in price may have been the result of something you said while they were on site. Note: In sales "I want to future proof our setup" translates to "I'm an idiot and want to get butt f'd by my suppliers."

4) When the price spread is $130 to $2500 on product there is a MAJOR difference in hardware and/or the amount of support. Something is not getting conveyed in your request for quote.

5) "Best Bang for the Buck" is not the 'Best Choice for You". Match your realistic requirements to cost.

Proper request for quotation wording is:
We are seeking a cost effective replacement for (4) Brand xyz, Model 1234, 24 port switches. The existing wiring is Cat xx and there is/is not any intent to upgrade it. The backbone bandwidth is xx mbps and there is/is not any intent to upgrade it.

If you have Cat 5 wire you are limited to 100 mbps, if it Cat 5E you can go higher. No point buying 1 GB switches if downtime and the cost of thse wiring replacement means you will never get funding for the rest of the upgrade. Discuss the wiring limits with your boss. If you buy cadillac switches to run on a VW chassis he will get pissed when he finds out. If you upgrade wiring and switches and then the backbone limits performance same issues.

PS You are paying 30-100% extra for the HP logo on the box. If pricing is a concern find a less "upscale" name.


Beware the G-Man
Political User
Did some one say "switches"?

Well this is the "General Hardware" section. :rolleyes:

Sorry, couldn't help me self. :speechless:



.. Commodore ..
Political User
Did some one say "switches"?

Well this is the "General Hardware" section. :rolleyes:

Sorry, couldn't help me self. :speechless:

I was going to mention about a hardware store, but you beat me to it !

As for the issue. Have you thought of cisco switches?


Stranger Than Fiction
Political User
I heard from a few different schools who have dealt with this company before. Everyone agrees that they try to get as much by you as possible and try to get you into way more than you need. So we're going with someone else.

One of the biggest problem with this whole arrangement is I wasn't here to do any of the initial setup. So I'm stuck guessing at why certain equipment was used and what is actually necessary moving forward.

I found out that the generic non-managed switches were put in place to get us up and running, they were donated by the state and were meant to be replaced as soon as the network was stable. This was nearly a decade ago. The last guy was super lazy. For example I had to update firmware on our wireless lan controllers over the weekend, it was only 3 versions out of date.

The reason for the rush to get new equipment is because we are out of IP's. Like completely out. Everyday I get attendance and have to clear out the lease on anyone who is missing. Thankfully since the kids are all assigned machines I know what to clear out. Once we have a good setup, fully managed, the state is coming in to help us expand the scope. I don't fully understand why we can't expand it now, I'm just following their lead and buying first and expanding later.

Anyway, we are going to get fully managed switches, 1 gig ports on each of them, and I think we have cat5e, but again, I wasn't here so I can't be sure. The lady who tried to push all this stuff on us claims that ALL the schools in the area are going to a 10 gig backplane. The state says this is goal for down the road but recommended that we not do that until our new building is ready. Which is probably 5 years away.

All that being said, I was super frustrated yesterday and probably came off like an idiot or crazy person. Perhaps both. But I'm in a much better mood this morning knowing that we are telling the other sales person to blow it out her @$$.
You do not look like an idiot. Dealing with suppliers takes training and experience. Being in an academic environment you don't have the business types around to teach you the tricks and correct jargon to keep the scum sucking, lying, cheating @!@$#^ suppliers from figuring out you are a noob at buying commercial equipment.

PS Ignore the wimpy comedians above, they have no idea what a real man's switch looks like :pirate::



Stranger Than Fiction
Political User
Continuing my string of idiocy. Or ignorance. Or inexperience. Take your pick...

Everyone said to give your new switch the same ip as the one you're replacing. Then simply unplug the old one, slap in the new one and fire it up, and boom, you're golden. I knew this sounded too easy but I did it anyway. Now I'm stuck. None of the clients on the new switch can browse the network/internet, they can't even connect to the switches management interface. I'm guessing there is something to do with DNS or DHCP or something that causing this. I just don't know what. Any ideas?


Stranger Than Fiction
Political User
IP address conflict. I should have known... If it seems to easy, its wrong. Anyway, I gave the new switch a different IP and everything is working. Only thing good to come out of that nightmare is all the overtime I collected.

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