Ubiquiti vs Cisco
Ubiquiti vs Cisco

Which network switch is best for you? Stop researching – get Network Antics’ professional opinion on Ubiquiti vs Cisco switches in this article.

What is a network switch? 

The short answer is that a network switch adds more ports to your router, which comes in handy if you are using a lot of devices in one place.  

A network switch, when chosen well, helps the communication of different devices in a network through exchanging data packets. An example of network switch usage would be in an office building or campus where there are wireless access points, printers, and computers on the same network. A network switch also helps you monitor network usage and access if you select the correct one. 

What network switch specifications should I be aware of? 

Most small businesses purchase switches without understanding the basic requirements to scale their technology easily and secure them as well.  They usually purchase an unmanaged network switch that also lacks Power Over Ethernet. 

POE provides power to desktop phones, access points, and surveillance cameras without the use of additional third-party power from an outlet.  Basically, you plug in the desk phone into the ethernet cable and it lights up.  Same goes for all other POE devices. 

An unmanaged network switch is not a far cry from a hub.  I do not recall the last time I saw a hub but please avoid the purchase of that and an unmanaged switch.  Every network requires a managed network switch with POE for the integrated VLAN segmentation capabilities and its SNMP protocol that enables your IT team to monitor traffic and associated network failures. 

Cisco Switches’ Premium Legacy 

The evolution of networking since the early 2000s has brought on a lot of competition and thus affordable solutions.   Every legitimate IT networking individual goes through the Cisco Academy and starts accruing certifications such as the CCNA and later (if they are up for it) a CCIE.  The Cisco Network Engineer is then capable of understanding TCP/IP networking concepts and hopefully can set up a sophisticated Cisco network and can troubleshoot too. 

HP Procurve network switches became the alternative to Cisco switches for organizations looking for competing alternatives.  You can find these network switches in many local city municipalities and Fortune 500 organizations, but they were very unappealing to micro and small business environments due to price. 

Ubiquiti Unifi Switches

Unifi Switches: Pros 

Ubiquiti Unifi switches have been growing in popularity recently, largely due to the robust features of POE and managed switch capabilities usually only offered in much bigger players, at a much higher price.  Their affordability and ease of use make Unifi switches appealing to the novice user. Unifi switches are also easy to deploy and are scalable with your home network or business if you are all in with purchases of their Unifi Dream Machine Pro and Access Points. The Ubiquiti Unifi switches’ ability to process heavy traffic while maintaining great network performance is difficult to beat.  

Some features of the Ubiquiti network switch that users appreciate are the remote access user, side-to-side connection, and the graphic user interface, which allows you to see the status of devices in real-time. The Unifi switches are also silent and provide redundant power in case the internal power fails. If you need to manage your network while remote, there’s a mobile app. Plus, there are no licensing fees! 

Unifi Switches: Cons 

The Ubiquiti Unifi line of products is far from perfect.  It can be a nightmare when the network switch isn’t functioning, and support from the manufacturer is lacking. Unfortunately, support is email-based – any real support you can get will likely come from an online community rather than from Ubiquiti itself.  

Another place where Unifi switches fall short is with security. While Unifi switches meet the minimal compliance of IPS or IDS, there are few options for security beyond the basics, which is a big disadvantage, but any micro business required to review the logs and make sense of them will hands down find them more intuitive to work with. 

Lastly, they like to release firmware updates for Unifi switches that have not been heavily vetted enough and unfortunately can sometimes wreak havoc on the network if it’s acting up. 

Ubiquiti Unifi Switch: Overall Thoughts 

The Ubiquiti Unifi switches are best suited for micro businesses with no more than 10-15 users. Deployment and implementation are relatively easy, and there isn’t a steep learning curve.  

The price point also makes Unifi switches much more appealing to micro businesses, along with Ubiquiti’s related easy-to-deploy networking hardware of routers and access points. Reconfiguring access points or gateways for Unifi switches can also be done quickly and APs can be configured individually if necessary.  

Throw in the eco system of affordable solutions for other verticals such as security cameras and access controls with key fobs and you can start seeing that Unifi umbrella of products is the optimal route for micro businesses and even some small businesses. 

Cisco Switches

Cisco Switches: Pros 

The US government deploys Cisco everywhere. It is the Ferrari of IT networking. Cisco switches are known for their expansion capability and great performance.  There is no comparison in support, security, and reliability.  Cisco switches win hands down, but the price point makes the equipment purchase a non-starter. 

Where Ubiquiti switches have been said to be lacking in security and sufficient support (at least from Ubiquiti itself), Cisco users have claimed that they are satisfied with their security features. They also have reported that technical support for Cisco switches is quick to respond and very helpful. 

Furthermore, the hardware for Cisco switches has reliable durability. As far as its software, Cisco switches come with built-in access for network devices and you won’t need to configure each switch because you’ll be able to deploy configurations from a single point.  

Cisco Switches: Cons

While Ubiquiti switches have been widely sought after for their great price point, one of the main issues with Cisco switches is how expensive they are, even by comparison to other higher-priced competitors.  

It has also been reported by users that the Cisco switches’ web interface is lacking, so if you are trying to manage your office and are not familiar with command-line interfaces, you may run into some problems. 

Software upgrades with Cisco switches can also be fairly slow, and this can be an issue when you’re running a large business. 

Cisco Switches: Overall Thoughts 

Taking into consideration their price and features, Cisco switches are best suited for large offices and government institutions, particularly with the connection of servers, infrastructure, routers, etc.  

Ubiquiti vs Cisco Switches: Verdict? 

If you’re choosing between Ubiquiti Unifi switches and Cisco switches, it’s best to know your needs before taking the dive – this ultimately depends on:  

– The size of your company 

– Your budget 

– Security concerns 

– How much and what kind of technical support you’ll need (if you enjoy doing your own research and interacting with the tech community, Ubiquiti is for you.) 

Bonus resources:

L0oking for more information on Ubiquiti and their products? Get all the pro tips here, or reach out to us for personalized IT support. 

 

The reasons that someone might choose Ubiquiti vs a Cisco switches are fairly different; while everyone will have the same basic needs around stability, the other factors mentioned above will determine which network switch is best for you. 

Contact our expert development team at NetworkAntics to see how we can assist you. 

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