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1650
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L3 Switch vs Router Metro Ethernet Termination

chris.berry.1
Level 1
Level 1

I'm interested in knowing what others are doing lately with regard to device choice on a private WAN Metro Ethernet connection when feature requirements are met by both an L3 switch and router.

Thanks,

Chris

6 Replies 6

Philip D'Ath
VIP Alumni
VIP Alumni

If a layer 3 switch can do everything you need, I would go with the switch - because of their raw speed.

Joseph W. Doherty
Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame

If feature needs are truly met by either a L3 switch or router, most would likely chose the L3 switch as generally it has a better performance to cost ratio.

That said, as WAN MetroE, because of cost, is seldom obtained with LAN bandwidth, or WAN latency is still a problem, often a L3 switch doesn't offer the features that are really needed.

Is it your opinion that the L3 switch has all the required QoS capabilities since MetroE might not be operating at pot speeds?

Well, if you're not operating at port speed, and you want effective QoS, you'll need a shaper.  I believe most "LAN" L3 switches do not support that feature.  Some "MetroE" L3 switches may.

Switches like the 3850 do, as they support Hierarchical QoS.

Philip D'Ath
VIP Alumni
VIP Alumni

Being a private metro Ethernet network, your need for features is likely to be low.

If they are mostly 1Gb/s circuits (or slower) a Cisco 3850 would provide ample (and comprehensive) QoS capabilities.  If they are mostly 10Gbe/s circuits then consider a Cisco 4500-X.

If you were wanting or run your own private MPLS, or act as a service provider then I would be suggesting switches like the ME3800 (which Cisco call "switch routers").

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