Finding the right pieces for your network can feel like putting together a puzzle. You have to find what pieces fit together and make sure you’re putting the proper ones in place.
When it comes to your switches, this means looking at all the different options, including the number of ports.
You’ll need to decide if a 24-port or 48-port switch works best in your IT environment. However, if you determine your IT environment needs 48 ports, you might wonder if you should use two 24-port switches instead of a single switch.
IT consultants, like The KR Group, work hard to find the best match for your IT needs, and we’ve seen circumstances where dual 24-port switches do, in fact, work better than a 48-port solution.
As you’ll read later, this is often to help your organization implement redundancy, mesh with your business’s IT strategy, or account for anticipated growth.
However, before you sign on the dotted line and purchase two 24-port switches instead of a 48-port device, here are a few factors you’ll want to consider:
- Pros of having two switches in your network
- Cons of using dual switches over a 48-port solution
- Cost of implementing stackable 24-port switches
- Reasons to implement dual switches
Pros of Dual 24-Port Switches
The most significant advantage of choosing two 24-port switches is the redundancy it offers your network.
What would happen if your switch went down and your users and systems lost access to the internet? Even with the highest tier of support, it could take hours for replacement hardware to arrive, not to mention the time it takes to implement it into your IT environment.
For some organizations, especially healthcare or manufacturing, redundancy is vital to keeping operations up and running.
And even if you have more than 24 ethernet-connected devices, you’ll at least have the infrastructure to support the essential elements of your network.
Problems with Dual 24-Port Switches
To implement and reap the benefits of redundancy in your network, you’ll need the proper infrastructure to support your additional hardware. This means using more power, including uninterrupted power supplies (UPS), and allocating additional physical space in your IT closet.
Dual 24-port switches still require fewer accommodations than redundant 48-port switches. However, if you have 25 or more ports, two 24-port switches don’t offer complete redundancy, even if they are better than no redundancy.
This same principle applies to the cost of implementing redundancy, which you’ll read about next.
Cost of Two 24-Port Switches
When comparing a single 24-port switch to a 48-port switch, the price difference is around $1,900 for devices with four 1-gigabit uplinks.
However, if you’re stacking two 24-port switches in place of a 48-port switch, there are a few more pieces you’ll need to consider. Compare Cisco’s Catalyst C9300L-24T-4G-E vs. a C9300-48T-4G-E, for example:
- You’ll need to purchase stacking modules for each 24-port switch, which costs around $800 per switch. This cost can likely be avoided unless you want to stack 48-port switches.
- The mandatory 3-year Cisco DNA Center license for each switch costs a total of $2,500 – $100 more than the license for a 48-port switch.
- You can choose a next business day support contract with incorporated redundancy instead of a 4-hour delivery option. For two switches, you’ll pay $2,000, compared to the $2,400 cost for a support license on a single 48-port switch.
When you add it all up, two Cisco Catalyst C9300L-24T-4G-E switches, including support, stacking modules, and Cisco DNA licenses, cost $16,700 compared to $10,900 for a single C9300-48T-4G-E switch.
Additionally, this price difference could increase as you choose to implement additional options, such as power over ethernet (PoE) or backup power supplies.
Reasons to Implement Dual Switches
From strictly a budgetary perspective, purchasing two 24-port switches instead of a single 48-port switch may not seem like a beneficial option.
However, many organizations’ operations depend on having a functioning switch. If that describes you, think about how much money you could lose in comparison to the additional $5,800 it costs to have some redundancy within your network.
While this option isn’t completely redundant, it’s a less expensive option than two 48-port switches. And if your switch does fail, you can still connect your most essential devices to the network.
If you go this route, just check that it works with your existing IT infrastructure or what changes you’d need to implement to support it because choosing between dual 24-port switches or a single 48-port device is just the beginning of decisions you’ll need to make.
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