HP ProCurve Switch 2848 review
HP offers a veritable feast of high-speed ports backed up by top management and monitoring tools, making this an ideal choice for cost-effectively deploying Gigabit Ethernet.
Review Date: 17 Mar 2004
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: (exc VAT); Basic warranty Limited lifetime with NBD replacement
HP has been heavily promoting the adoption of Gigabit Ethernet in the enterprise, and the new ProCurve 2800 range of switches brings the price per managed port to an all-time low. Despite being barely 1U high, the 2848 packs in 44 fixed triple-speed ports and complements these with a quartet of 'dual personality' ports. You can user the latter for more copper connections but the SFP (small form-factor pluggable) ports underneath can be used instead for longer fibre connections. HP offers 1000BaseSX, 1000BaseLX and 1000BaseLH mini-GBIC modules.
Installation is simple and security features are in abundance. There's support for 802.1x port authentication and RADIUS servers, while lists of MAC addresses can be used to restrict access to specific ports. The 96Gb/sec backplane looks capable of handling high traffic loads: we confirmed this with our SmartBits SMB-6000 test chassis. With ten Gigabit connections we saw a perfect forwarding efficiency for all traffic loads and frame sizes. Latency was also low with 64-byte frames being switched in less than 7ms.
The switch comes with remote browser access, which can now be secured over SSL sessions. The interface is common to all managed HP switches and is still one of the best on the market. A comprehensive alert log offers plenty of advice about network problems and the likely causes and suggestions for remedial action, while a bar graph shows general port activity. HP's TopTools SNMP management software has been replaced by the ProCurve Manager, which provides automatic device discovery and network mapping to show networks, subnets and even VLANs. A dashboard gives a complete overview of general network traffic status and all HP devices, plus you can see at a glance if any are running configurations that differ from the chosen defaults. The optional Plus version offers features such as remote VLAN creation and policy deployment to multiple switches and it can analyse network performance data to identify traffic trends or potential problems.
Author: Dave Mitchell
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