While Ethernet is a standard and any network switch will therefore “work” with EVO, switch capabilities vary greatly, and the workflow demands and number and type of connections are important factors to consider when deciding which (if any) switch is appropriate for your needs.
Generally speaking, your environment may fit into one of the following categories. Contact your trusted SNS reseller for tailored recommendations according to your specific requirements.
Basic (small group and/or light workflow): no switch needed
In many cases, EVO is capable of providing all the connectivity needed to accommodate your users with its included or expanded ports and/or virtual switch capability, in which case a dedicated physical switch isn’t even required. If the EVO has more ports than users, or the bandwidth requirements are low, a home run connection is ideal to ensure dedicated resources over each connection path.
Intermediate (medium group and/or medium workflow demands): unmanaged switch
In some cases, the amount of connections needed may exceed the number of Ethernet ports available on EVO, and a switch will be needed simply for network expansion, while the traffic demands of the switch may be light enough that its relevance in the network topography is rather low.
In this case, a basic switch using a homogenous connection speed may be perfectly sufficient. Note that some of these switches may prioritize energy efficiency (limiting performance), and that it may not be possible to alter the power policy. Check that unmanaged truly means unmanaged when selecting a lightweight switch. Also keep in mind that a switch that simply adds ports to the network may hamper future growth.
Advanced (large group and/or high workflow demands): managed switch
In most cases where a physical switch is required, it means the performance requirements are heavy enough that the switch becomes a very important consideration, since that dedicated hardware can represent a single possible point of failure (or performance bottleneck) between all other devices on the network. When the performance needs exceed that of a typical home or office network, a switch that simply adds connection points is not going to be a good fit.
A managed switch should be selected for optimal traffic management when handling things like aggregated links and/or mixed connection speeds, which require dedicated packet buffering. For example, an EVO sending traffic over a 50GbE link to clients would quickly saturate and overfill 1GbE or 10GbE workstation connections without the switch stepping in to manage the rate data is delivered to each connected device. Properly funneling this kind of flow may not be a consideration for a general-purpose switch designed for a standard office environment, and you’ll want to ensure the managed switch has sufficient dedicated resources to handle a dynamic traffic profile.
If you are or plan to fall into this section, consult with your qualified SNS reseller if you have any concerns about switch limitations for your environment.
The number of products and their release cycles make it difficult to officially endorse any specific switches, since this information almost immediately becomes outdated, and in reality workflows are never as simple as basic, intermediate, and advanced.
It’s always going to be safer to overshoot on the switch capabilities considering future growth and increasing demands.
Although SNS doesn't sell or endorse any specific switches, here are some models/families we’ve tested and/or seen deployed successfully in a significant number of environments:
Netgear M4300 series
Cisco 3400 series
Arista 7060CX/SX series
Arista 7280R2 series
Mellanox SN2010 series