If you tinkered with computers as a kid, worked in IT for more than thirty seconds, or stood relatively close to an IT person, you’ve probably heard of Netgear. They’re the de-facto standard in SMB networking and produce the iconic blue cased equipment that seems to keep ticking on, infinitely, like a Japanese quartz watch movement. If you feed it power, it will function.
Netgear is also known for its more economical price point, providing really great value for the SMB customer. It’s especially valuable for customers looking to deploy VoIP in their SMB environment considering the feature set offered.
Enter the Netgear FS728TP-NAS switch
The FS728TP-NAS is a 24 port 10/100, L2, PoE switch with a 192-watt power budget.
That means with a phone using an estimated 5 watts of power, you can reliably power up to 38 phones as a conservative estimate. Also included are four Gigabit ports (2 copper and 2 combo SFP) for a switch to switch, or switch to router connectivity.
Now, you might be wondering why you would use a 10/100 switch for VoIP. Using Fast Ethernet (10/100) is a great way to save costs in a VoIP deployment if you aren’t planning on connecting PCs or other devices to the phone as a piggyback. If the phone is going to sit independently, it does not need gigabit speed, a 10/100 port is completely adequate. A single call over SIP using the extremely common G7.11 codec will require approximately 100 kbps of bandwidth, making Fast Ethernet more than enough to get the job done.
The FS728 is also a standard 19” rackmount switch with convenient variable fans inside to reduce noise. What’s also convenient is the feature set provided with the FS728, which caters to the needs of VoIP in particular.
Some of the things that will be particularly important to a VoIP deployment and make life better overall with the FS728:
- Web-based management
- VLANS (and auto voice VLAN)
- PoE (802.3af) on all 24 ports
- Access Control Lists
- Quality of Service
My quick thoughts on VLANs:
VLANs specifically are an optional component of VoIP, although I strongly encourage them. They become useful when you share your network with both data and voice. Organizationally, a VLAN will separate the traffic and make it easier to apply policies to separate device types. It’s not a performance control as some might think, it’s a strategy for security and management, and even small networks can benefit from VLANs.
Now to the important part: The FS728 is a sub $500 switch, making it a no-brainer when it comes to the SMB space. It’s a great value considering all 24 ports are PoE, which is something you don’t always get with Netgear’s competitors. Also included is a lifetime hardware warranty, which an important consideration when switch shopping, because reliability has its own intangible value to a business. For a competitive quote on the Netgear FS728-NAS, give VoIP Supply a call!