How We Test Network Switches

Status
Not open for further replies.

zodiacfml

Distinguished
Oct 2, 2008
1,144
0
19,280
0
Nice but can we get something interesting or controversial when reviewing network switches? Increase the difficulty. Challenge yourselves; review various Wi-Fi routers especially the MU-MIMO capable.
 

blackmagnum

Honorable
May 14, 2012
221
0
10,690
1
While you're busy with this, please consider testing the different brands of lan cables as well. I've heard that the monster cables are the market benchmark.
 

jacklongley

Honorable
Dec 3, 2013
12
0
10,510
0


It's IxChariot by Ixia (formerly by NetIQ). Frankly, not the best of testing solutions, but beggars can't be choosers.
 

jacklongley

Honorable
Dec 3, 2013
12
0
10,510
0


None of the tests presented will demostrate a difference with network cabling, insomuch as any cabling certified at Cat5E or above will allow the devices to operate at 1Gbps (or lower, for those devices using FastE instead).

Cabling benchmarks are more around the available transmission headroom, i.e. which Ethernet standard will it support. You can already ascertain these from the category of cabling, e.g. Cat7 vs. Cat5.
 

jacklongley

Honorable
Dec 3, 2013
12
0
10,510
0
Personally, I'm not impressed with the lackluster approach to testing that Tom's Hardware demonstrates for network devices. These types of tests should follow the testing methodologies laid out years ago in RFC2544. In fact, IxChariot should already have RFC2544 options available by default.

Perhaps Tom's should leave network testing and articles to the big boys.
 

VTOLfreak

Distinguished
Jan 23, 2006
77
0
18,630
0
I'm more upset about the hardware they are using than the software. You'd expect someone running network tests to at least bring server class network cards to the table. What are you testing here guys? The switch in question or your crappy network cards?
 

irongnome

Reputable
Nov 10, 2015
2
0
4,510
0
I have a few metrics that I would be very interested in seeing measured.
A. Does the switch have adequate buffers/properly implemented flow control. This comes in to play when you mix FastEthernet and Gigabit on the same network.
B. Full Line Rate and Latency Test using a snake topology. Eg. Ports 1 and 2 on VLAN 1, Ports 3 and 4 on VLAN 2, Ports 5 and 6 on VLAN 3, etc. With a patch cable bridge 2 and 3, 4 and 5, etc. Connect the test machines to the first and last port. This will load the switch to its absolute capacity while only requiring two endpoints.
C. Power consumption.
 

DrakeFS

Reputable
Aug 11, 2014
95
0
4,640
1
While you're busy with this, please consider testing the different brands of lan cables as well. I've heard that the monster cables are the market benchmark.
I truly hope you are being sarcastic, as networking is a digital signal. As a previous poster stated, if the cable is rated at 5e or above, it will serve up to 1Gbs of bandwidth. 6 and 6a will serve up to 10Gbs of bandwidth. The only thing that a Monster cable may have better than your average 5e ethernet cable, is that they may be terminated within tighter specifications. Still, this will not affect most consumers as the bottle neck will be your ISP speeds(unless you are one of the lucky ones with >= 1Gbs service). If you need to do a lot of cabling (or some really long cables), I suggest purchasing a 1000ft roll of 5e or 6a, some RJ45 terminators and a crimping tool. You will save $$$ in the end.
 

THJulio

Reputable
Jun 3, 2015
8
0
4,510
0
Nice but can we get something interesting or controversial when reviewing network switches? Increase the difficulty. Challenge yourselves; review various Wi-Fi routers especially the MU-MIMO capable.
Thanks. We're currently building out a separate router category slated to start up in Q1 2016.
 

THJulio

Reputable
Jun 3, 2015
8
0
4,510
0
I'm more upset about the hardware they are using than the software. You'd expect someone running network tests to at least bring server class network cards to the table. What are you testing here guys? The switch in question or your crappy network cards?
Personally, I'm not impressed with the lackluster approach to testing that Tom's Hardware demonstrates for network devices. These types of tests should follow the testing methodologies laid out years ago in RFC2544. In fact, IxChariot should already have RFC2544 options available by default.

Perhaps Tom's should leave network testing and articles to the big boys.
Thanks for the input. We're still building out our test suites for the different networking devices, and as the article mentions, these current benchmarks are basically at v1.0. In their current state, we want the tests to cover real world conditions. In the next version, we'll be adding in stress test scenarios using server/workstation level hardware that will push the switches and routers even more.
 

dE_logics

Reputable
Oct 16, 2015
73
0
4,630
0
I call it Windows switch test rig.

All because of the limitations of your OS and Windows 'software', you can't use a single PC with 4 network cards/ports to do the same tests.

Apart form that, it appears you test your switches for 'windows readyness'.
 

VTOLfreak

Distinguished
Jan 23, 2006
77
0
18,630
0
I call it Windows switch test rig.

All because of the limitations of your OS and Windows 'software', you can't use a single PC with 4 network cards/ports to do the same tests.
Windows as a testing platform is not a problem but you need the right combination of hardware, drivers, applications and so on to do proper offloading. You need to be allot more careful on Windows than on say Linux or BSD. You miss one step somewhere and the whole thing falls over and you are standing around wondering why you are only getting a few gbit out of a 10gbit port on a windows file server for example. Irony is that once you do all that you have pretty much bypassed the entire network stack on Windows so in that respect I do have to agree with you. :)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS