Cisco Small Business Pro Switch pricing...

Unanswered Question
Dec 31st, 2009
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As a very long time Linksys user I am not totally unhappy that the Linksys name is no longer part of the product designation.


We provide IT management and support to many SME businesses. Part of our management functions on behalf of our clients is to ensure value for money. From a Linksys aspect, in the past this meant a trade-off between value (low-cost - a Linksys benefit) and reliability and stability.


On the one hand, we continuously had to monitor and test firmware upgrades before implementation. On the other hand we have many clients still running netwrok VPNs on 6 year old BEFVP41 units with no outages at all due to the equipment...


With this experience in mind, we are anticipating that the Small Business Pro equipment is likely to be fully specified and tested, for which we will gladly recommend to our clients the higher prices commensurate with that reliability and stability.


From this perspective, we have tested the SA520 and the AP541N and the initial results are favorable - they appear to be an improvement on the Linksys RVS4000 and the RV042. Pricing is higher, but not exorbitantly so.


When looking at the switch pricing, however, I was unimpressed to find that the 24 port Gigabit switch is north of $1,300 - amost 3 times the price of the SRW2024.


I realize that pricing is a corporate decision by Cisco - and I have no doubt that they do not want to have their Small Business Pro series cannibalizing the corporate switch sales. However, we cannot recommend this to client management as it is excessive. Given that we set the standards for all of our clients (and ALL of our clients are currently using LInksys products as an exclusive standard - we do not permit any other networking equipment), our choice is difficult:

Do we stick with the Cisco Small Business Pro for the WAN aspects of client networks and evaluate other vendors for the LAN elements?


Given that we have been badly burned by both Linksys One and Microsoft ResponsePoint, we specifically no longer specify IP voice systems by network vendors, so any infrastructure-specific advantages in this regard are not an issue.


Any other perspectives on this?

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John Platts Thu, 12/31/2009 - 15:29
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The Small Business Pro ESW 500 Switches actually differ from their Linksys and Cisco Small Business counterparts by these features:

  • Better interoperability with Cisco and Cisco Small Business Pro products
  • Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP)
  • EtherChannel
  • Cisco Configuration Assistant configurability and manageability
  • Integration with the Cisco Smart Business Communication System (SBCS) solution
  • Smartport roles for easy configuration of switchports, both in the ESW Web GUI and in the Cisco Configuration Assistant program
  • Ability to connect Cisco Unified IP Phones into an ESW switch as part of a SBCS deployment
  • ESW 500 switches have a higher level of support than the Linksys and Small Business counterparts because Cisco Small Business Pro Service is offered on the ESW 500 switches


The ESW 500 Web GUI is actually similar to the GUI found on the Linksys and Cisco Small Business counterparts. ESW 500 might actually be a better option with the SA500 because:

  • CCA 2.2(1) and later can manage the SA500, the AP541N, and the ESW 500 switches, even if they are deployed outside of the SBCS solution.
  • Cisco Small Business Pro Service is available on ESW switches, but not on Linksys or Cisco Small Business products