I bought two new HPE OfficeConnect 1920S switches to replace the previous ones I had, the HP ProCurve 1810G-8.
The old switches were in use for at least 8 years now, these switches were (at the time) sufficient but nowadays we need a bit more features, which these old switches do not support. What is nice though, that even though these switches are really old, they still get firmware updates! So investing in HP equipment apparently pays off and that’s why I decided to stick with them.
Installing the switches
I started out with connecting the device to my PC directly, downloading the lastest firmware, and install that. All this was really easy. Once the firmware was updated, I could manage the device in Chrome (the old firmware only worked with … cough … Internet Explorer), so yeah, that update solved some issues. 🙂
Next step was setting up the proper IP address, hooking it up in my own network, setting up the VLANS, securing it with a password, and so on. All this went without any issues, the HP interface is really easy to navigate
Once that all was done, it was time to setup Spanning Tree Protocol. I have several network devices here, and some Sonos equipment. Sonos only supports classic STP, so that was the way to go. Once that was configured I tried to connect a speaker in my office to the switch and… uf, broadcast loops. DHCPv6 Information Request packages started to loop around… Eventually it seems that this wasn’t the swich’s fault. I disabled WiFi on the Sonos device and the problem went away. So that’s that.
Once I connected the switches to their places PoE started to supply power from a PoE switch I have here, so that saves me connecting stuff to a power outlet. This works fine, and saves me a couple of cables.
New features I’m going to use
These switches have a lot of fun features, one is Layer 3 routing (which can be very handy) but another one which is even more interesting is IEEE802.1X. This allows me to setup an authenticated wired network. For the management network here this is a really nice option, which basically means, if you want to connect to the management network you will need to have a certificate installed on your machine. Just taking a cable out of one PC and putting it into another will not work anymore. So this is certainly an experiment worth trying.
I also use syslog for logging. These switches allow logging to a syslog server (which I have), and it makes managing your network a lot easier. I use Graylog, an open source logging server which runs on Linux.
The switches allow secure communication (TLS) for managing them, also a nice feature. It means passwords aren’t flying over the network without encryption.
These new switches are a lot more advanced than the ones I used to have. They are affordable and provide a bit more features than your average switch. I would certainly recommend these.