Help in buying a Cisco Switch 3550 Vs 2950 (not sure about other models?:

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Jan 16th, 2009
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Hi Guys,

Some help will be much appreciated.

I'm in the process of setting up a lab @ home, I've the following with me,

1x Cisco CCM 4.1

1x 3640 router with Ethernet interface module and FXS module.

3x 7960 phones.

Now here is what I want help,

I want to buy a Cisco switch, Ideal would be a 3560, however its not coming for less.

So I am planning to purchase an alternate switch,

3550 is one of the options, its expensive as well, but Ok to buy. But we have other switches like 2950s.

Kindly suggest or help me to understand the difference.

Its not about the difference, If I go for 2950, will I be able to do the QOS and stuffs?

I need these switches for connecting my phones & should be able to do some QOS settings (what ever thats possible with 3550); it inturn connects to a router.

Kindly help,


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Overall Rating: 3 (1 ratings)
Jon Marshall Fri, 01/16/2009 - 11:09
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The big difference between a 3550 and a 2950 is that the 3550 is a layer 3 switch that supports inter-vlan routing whereas the 2950 is only a layer 2 switch.

The 3550 is now end of Sale ie. you can't buy them from Cisco any more and have been replaced by the 3560/3750 but you can still obviously buy them off ebay etc.

Both switches support Catalyst QOS with the 3550 having a slightly richer feature set but there is not a lot in it.

If you are considering playing around with inter-vlan routng in your lab this could be done with the 2950 and the router (routing on a stick) but i would go with the 3550.


framedrelay Sat, 01/17/2009 - 11:08
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Hi Jon,

You reply is much appreciated. Thanks a lot for your time.

I've a question.

I have Cisco router (3640) though which I can route Inter Vlan traffic If Im going with 2950. So I can assume there isnt much difference apart from the Inter Vlan traffic?

I want to go for CCIE sometimes in future, so does it makes any difference If i go with 2950+router than buying a 3550?

Also, I should be buying a 2950 with EI (Enchanced Image) rather than going for a standard one, am i correct?

If im getting a Catalyst 2950 Series 24-Port Switch WS-C2950-24, is it possible to put Ei image in future? I hope it shudnt be possible., but I do not know.

If you can help, I would appreciate.


framedrelay Sat, 01/17/2009 - 21:02
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I Acutally went through the release notes, Its running EI

24-Port Switch WS-C2950-24

Still the question remains, as what we cant do more with a 2950+EI image with 3550 Emi apart from Inter Vlan Routing...



Leo Laohoo Sun, 01/18/2009 - 13:16
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Ditto here.

The 2950 supports only Dot1Q Trunking encapsulation while the 3550 supports both Dot1Q and ISL. I know it doesn't sound much.

The 3550 EMI is a better choice to the 2950 because when you're done with playing around with VLAN's, you can move to the next with IP Routing using a router and/or a switch.

Sushil Kumar Katre Sun, 01/18/2009 - 20:12
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Hi Sylvester,

Since you are planning to use the same devices for future CCIE practice lab as well, I'll suggest going for a 3550 switch if you can afford it.

Justification,you'll have the flexibility to position that switch as a router in your topology if required. You'll be having two layer 3 devices - 3640 router and 3550 switch to play around.

-> Sushil

framedrelay Thu, 01/22/2009 - 15:10
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Thanks Sushil.. I bought a 2950, buying a 3550 as well.. since em getting these really cheap..

Kindly let me know if this can be upgraded with EI image?

Switch#show version

Cisco Internetwork Operating System Software

IOS (tm) C2950 Software (C2950-I6Q4L2-M), Version 12.1(22)EA4, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)

Copyright (c) 1986-2005 by cisco Systems, Inc.

Compiled Wed 23-Mar-05 15:33 by yenanh

Image text-base: 0x80010000, data-base: 0x80562000

ROM: Bootstrap program is C2950 boot loader

Switch uptime is 13 minutes

System returned to ROM by power-on

System image file is "flash:/c2950-i6q4l2-mz.121-22.EA4.bin"

cisco WS-C2950-24 (RC32300) processor (revision R0) with 21039K bytes of memory.

Processor board ID FOC0922Z1UK

Last reset from system-reset

Running Standard Image

24 FastEthernet/IEEE 802.3 interface(s)

32K bytes of flash-simulated non-volatile configuration memory.

Base ethernet MAC Address: 00:14:6A:04:F5:00

Motherboard assembly number: 73-5781-13

Power supply part number: 34-0965-01

Motherboard serial number: FOC09211SDT

Power supply serial number: PHI092104K5

Model revision number: R0

Motherboard revision number: A0

Model number: WS-C2950-24

System serial number: FOC0922Z1UK

Configuration register is 0xF



Sushil Kumar Katre Thu, 01/22/2009 - 20:11
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Hi Sylvester,

I don't think that you can shuffle between SMI and EMI images on 2950 switches.

From Q&A -

Q. What is the difference between the Cisco Standard Image software and Cisco Enhanced Image software?

A. These two software image versions support different degrees of capability. The version of software depends solely on the model of switch selected, with no upgrade capabilities.



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