Unmanaged switch horror stories



  • I was talking with another tech and he hadn't heard of why not to use unmanaged switches out near users. I don't allow unmanaged switches on any of my managed customers, but once in a while I'll get a call from a break fix customer that killed their network when they created a loop.

    What is everyone else's experience? Do you allow unmanaged switches? Do you allow switches outside of the data closet?

    (before someone says it, what you really want in a switch is STP, but you don't get that in unmanaged switches, so it's not so much that the switch is unmanaged as the problem that unmanaged switches don't have STP options)



  • I normally recommended them. Unmanaged stop people from getting caught up in too much unnecessary network management when none is normally needed. They are a fraction of the price and provide better performance. There is really no normal situation in an SMB where you should need STP. Using managed switches as a bandaid over a company having good processes seems generally to be a silly way to go. Instead of buying the wrong hardware, control the staff.



  • @Mike-Davis said in Unmanaged switch horror stories:

    Do you allow unmanaged switches? Do you allow switches outside of the data closet?

    Unmanged: Allowed and normally recommended.
    Outside the data closet: No, of course not.



  • I like the inbetween. Smart switches (Netgear has a good line of them) are fantastic for this type of thing.



  • A data closet would be great, I've got a hallway and a utilities room.

    Onto the main topic tho, all our switches are now some sort of "smart" switch. They're not as feature rich as true managed switches, but they've got everything I'd consider essential. Like the loop detection and mitigation. The price is great for them as well. I've had been using HP, but prefer Ubiquiti if they have something that meets my needs.



  • We have a bunch of little 5 port switches at each desk (for more ports). They are mostly unmanaged, but a few are the netgear smart switches. We had port mirroring set up on one, and guess who grabbed it by mistake and plugged it in at a new employee's desk? Talk about a 3 minute panic. After that incident, I carved "port mirror" into the top of it (I didn't bother resetting it because I knew we would need it as is for a project soon".



  • This is the kind of set up that has burned me. Cord getting kicked is one thing. Cable looping around and creating an network loop is another. Remotely you ask them if the lights are on, and they sure are!

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  • @Mike-Davis said in Unmanaged switch horror stories:

    This is the kind of set up that has burned me. Cord getting kicked is one thing. Cable looping around and creating an network loop is another. Remotely you ask them if the lights are on, and they sure are!

    Yeah, that's not an issue with unmanaged switches, that's an issue with switches in the wrong place, bad physical access controls, consumer switches, bad cabling.... that the switch is unmanaged is a red herring here.



  • This is a business class unmanaged switch. It's still rack mount, it's still high quality, you still don't make a mess of the cables. But you don't spend time managing STP or VLANs.

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  • @scottalanmiller said

    Yeah, that's not an issue with unmanaged switches, that's an issue with switches in the wrong place, bad physical access controls, consumer switches, bad cabling.... that the switch is unmanaged is a red herring here.

    OK, so we can agree cheap switches outside of the closet are a bad idea.

    The discussion came up because we were copied on an email from one user to another where they told the user to run out and get a cheap switch so they could hook up their network printer and their computer.



  • Unmanaged switch being readied at NTG North Texas office.

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  • @Mike-Davis said in Unmanaged switch horror stories:

    @scottalanmiller said

    Yeah, that's not an issue with unmanaged switches, that's an issue with switches in the wrong place, bad physical access controls, consumer switches, bad cabling.... that the switch is unmanaged is a red herring here.

    OK, so we can agree cheap switches outside of the closet are a bad idea.

    The discussion came up because we were copied on an email from one user to another where they told the user to run out and get a cheap switch so they could hook up their network printer and their computer.

    Well yes, bypassing IT for any purchasing, especially core infrastructure, is ridiculous.


  • Banned

    This post is deleted!


  • I have a customer about 1.25 hrs away.

    I had been helping troubleshoot an issue. I fixed that with my remote hands onsite.

    Then...

    They called and said that their computers were intermittently unable to access the domain. They still had Internet access but all internal network systems were unavailable, and then available again.

    I pulled up my screenconnect console and looked at the gateway IP address they had. It looked correct.

    I remoted in, and then quickly noticed the devices were connecting and disconnecting. I tried to ping the gateway and I would get a response. Sometimes it was the firewall (the correct gateway) and other times it would be the CPE modem from TWC. (The wrong gateway)

    Thought to myself this is impossible. All traffic goes into the firewall and is tunneled. The CPE modem is always invisible to this computer.

    That is when I realized while troubleshooting something else in the office the set of onsite hands created a Loop on the network. I specifically said what to connect and not to. But they misunderstood. And didn't say anything.

    That was a very fun time as I got to experiance that. And figure out what happened and how to fix it.

    Love IT work!



  • @Mike-Davis said in Unmanaged switch horror stories:

    @scottalanmiller said

    Yeah, that's not an issue with unmanaged switches, that's an issue with switches in the wrong place, bad physical access controls, consumer switches, bad cabling.... that the switch is unmanaged is a red herring here.

    OK, so we can agree cheap switches outside of the closet are a bad idea.

    Any switch outside of a closet is a bad idea.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Unmanaged switch horror stories:

    @Mike-Davis said in Unmanaged switch horror stories:

    The discussion came up because we were copied on an email from one user to another where they told the user to run out and get a cheap switch so they could hook up their network printer and their computer.

    Well yes, bypassing IT for any purchasing, especially core infrastructure, is ridiculous.

    Right, this has nothing to do with the type of switch.


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