If you spend a great deal of time deploying VoIP systems or building IP networks for various customers, you quickly learn to appreciate things that just seem to work. What I mean by that is, there’s no crossing your fingers, or sacrificing a virgin to have a piece of equipment work the way it’s actually supposed to.
If you’ve been reading some of my posts or have seen the videos that I have been in, then all of you know that I am a bit of an ADTRAN fanboy. I like ADTRAN the same way that I like my 22-year-old Swiss Army KnifeⓇ. It’s reliable, well-made, fits in your pocket, and will always get the job done. With that, let me re-introduce you to the ADTRAN NetVanta 1531P. For my first introduction to the NetVanta 1531P, check out my unboxing video here. Also see the configuration video below:
A key aspect that I’d like to spotlight on this switch is ADTRAN’s “VoIP Setup Wizard” feature. Setting up the LAN for voice is challenging, because of the complexity involved with configuring various settings such as Quality of Service (QoS), V-LANs, Class-of-Service (CoS), uplink ports, among others. With ADTRAN’s VoIP Setup Wizard, the whole process is automated to just two-clicks and your LAN is setup for voice. This is ideal if you have a voice over IP phone system or are thinking of switching to VoIP, which allows for fast VoIP deployments. ADTRAN offers a number of “voice aware” features that simplify setup and management of your voice deployments.
The NetVanta 1531P won’t actually fit in your pocket (unless you still wear Jenco jeans) but it has a fantastic form factor that allows you to mount or set it just about anywhere in your organization. Yes, it is a small capacity switch with 12 ports, which means it’s meant for small deployments of VoIP phones or wireless access points, but I’ve found that it really shines as a test or provisioning bench switch. The 1531P can function as a DHCP server, which is not a feature readily found in the lesser “prosumer” class of switch in the same-ish price point (under $600). This is important because you can serve IP addresses to IP phones without the need for a dedicated piece of equipment such as a router or server. You can of course consequently serve DHCP options, such as option 66, to point phones to a specific TFTP server. A customer’s environment can easily be replicated by creating an additional VLAN with their specific IP address scheme, default gateway, and DNS information allowing you to configure both phones and even an IP PBX to be shipped pre-configured, which is the actual method used by VoIP Supply for provisioning services.
Okay, how about some more details? Well, it’s a small, lightweight, fanless, PoE switch, and it’s a layer 3 device. Actually, layer 3 light as described by ADTRAN, which means it can perform static routing (VLAN to VLAN) but is limited to how many static routes you can use (16). It cannot perform dynamic routing like the NetVanta 1544 for example, but there are some pretty big differences in the price point when making that comparison (by a few thousand). The NetVanta 1531P sports 8 PoE and PoE+ ports which produce up to 30 watts per port (PoE+) with a maximum PoE budget of 65watts. In terms of IP phones, it’s plenty to support 8 PoE powered phones as they aren’t as demanding as wireless access points, but do your research and make sure you are accounting for all devices needing power. There are an additional 4 ports on the 1531P, two are non-PoE Ethernet, and two SFP, all of which are 1 Gbps. There is a console port accessible via a DB-9 RS-232 port that connects you to a very familiar command line interface. If you have any command line experience with Cisco, then you’ll feel right at home with ADTRAN as the syntax is nearly identical. Of course, you can SSH for the same experience, but you are also provided a web-based interface which means you’ll almost never have to SSH or console into the switch if you are a little rusty on your command line witchcraft. For a complete list of the NetVanta 1531P check out the datasheet.
ADTRAN’s standard web interface that you find with all of their NetVanta and most TotalAccess products provides you with an efficient avenue to administer your switch. It isn’t overly garnished with tacky graphics or is so convoluted that it becomes a frustrating experience if you don’t already know the ins and outs. The web interface is, just right, and leaves out virtually nothing. There are some tasks that are moderately quicker via the command line, but as stated before, the user interface can accomplish all of the most common switch administrative tasks without needing to use the command line. It also doesn’t change its appearance, ever. Changes or added features are subtle and go almost unnoticed if you didn’t read the latest firmware release. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I tend to place value on consistency and general standardization. Speaking of firmware, it’s free, for the life of the product. Yes, I said FREE. Firmware can be downloaded from ADTRAN after you create a login with them, which is also at no cost to you.
If you think you have a need for a small layer 3 switch that can provide PoE to IP phones or any other compatible device, give VoIP Supply a call. The ADTRAN NetVanta 1531P goes to the top of my recommendations list for battle proven, reliable, and feature-rich equipment.