Apr 302007
 

This weekend I bought a Linksys SRW2024 switch. It’s a 24 port, 10/100/1000Mbit rack mount switch with a fairly good feature set. The switch it is replacing is a Cisco 2924XL – another feature packed switch – but only 100Mbit. As most things these days come with an onboard Gigabit network adapter, I thought it’d be a nice performance increase to finally get a GigE switch. What I did want however is the switch to support 802.1q trunking. This allows you to use one network card in a machine and have the switch do some magic to make it bridge multiple vlans. This means I only need 1 GigE network card per machine and can have it on 2 logically separate networks. This is a good thing.

So I set this switch up as soon as I got it home. It has a lovely GigE sticker on the top that make me chuckle. The next thing I did was RTFM. Well, I tried to. It doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a CD, which is great – as I was hoping to get a nice PDF manual – however there’s only a very basic users guide. Hrmmm. Here I am wanting to set up multiple vlans, and have no documentation how to do it. I then did what every self-repecting geek would do. I played.

This was when I first started to dislike the SRW2024. Being a Cisco person, the first thing I did was hook up the console cable. Wow, what a rude shock I was in for. The console is just about useless. About the best thing you can do in the console interface is set the switches IP address. The second best thing is that you can disable interfaces. That’s it. No vlan config, no status, no admin functions. Poop.

Hey, I’d set up an IP address via the console, lets try telnet! Hrrmm. Wait – that’s the same crappy interface that – well, sucks. What about the web interface I hear you scream. Sure – that was my next thought. Starting to feel misled, I fired up Safari and went to the switches IP. Nothing. Squat. Zero. A big fat white page showed itself with a dazzling nothing. Ok, maybe it’s a Safari thing – Lets try Firefox. Yay, a login box! But wait. Don’t get too excited – as after you’ve logged in, you can’t actually do anything. You guessed it, you can ONLY configure the switch using Internet Explorer. Now I’ll tell you one thing about Mac users… Hell hath no fury like a Mac user (and probably linux users too) forced to use IE.

So, I pulled out my old faithful Windows XP laptop and presto, I could get into the web interface and actually do something! Setting up the Vlans was a bit tricky – as I was still thinking in the Cisco frame of mind. Put the interface into trunk mode, and set dot1q. The Linksys switch is a little different, as you have to actually allow a trunk port to use certain vlans via tagging. THis is probably good for security – as you have the option to set all non-tagged packets to vlan 4095 (aka the bit bucket). You also have the ability to set on a per port basis which vlans can be accessed – even in trunk mode. Think of it like the cisco allowed command.

After this initial frustation of setting the switch up, it seems to be pretty good. Performance is ok – although I bet it would work better if I wasn’t using cheap GigE network cards (ie not 32 bit cards) and could run jumbo frames. I still managed to get ~26Mb/sec between two machines – which is still more than double the performance of a 100Mbit switch.

Running wise, I’d give this switch a 8 out of 10. For the initial config, I’d have to say that Linksys really need to pull their finger out and do some serious re-thinking of what they are trying to achieve with this switch. A 3 out of 10 for the setup experience.

  25 Responses to “Review of the Linksys SRW2024 switch.”

  1. I can’t believe that it only runs with IE as the only web browser and there is no ssh interface. Who in this day and age makes a product that only works with IE and Windows? Who has remote management via telnet and not ssh?

    Sorry, just venting, since your site was one of the first I found that confirmed my experience with the web browser..

    Now to find a way to complain to linksys..

  2. Oh my goodness, how annoying is this switch. Powerful switch yet annoyingly dumb help system down the side of the web interface.

    All of the text down the side must of been written by the engineers without caring out end users.

    Where is a basic setup, basic howto for VLAN?

    Firmware update BEWARE! Simple things like this seem to make the web GUI (yes, using IE) go screwy until repeated head banging and blood letting.

  3. Ouch, I thought the browser issue had something 2 do with java or something, oh well… now i’m having trouble setting up QoS on this same model… may the force be with me….

  4. It has to do with IE7 security .. I had to drop down to IE6. Same happens with the web mgmt interface in SonicWall. I got two of these set up, and sorry to say I got spoiled not having to mess with the serial cables (my blade servers don’t have serial ports anymore) worked well for me. VLAN support is pretty strong once you get the hang of their screens and IE’s caching .. process that worked for me is: go to the VLAN page and Create VLANs first, then to Port Setting tab and put the port in General mode and provide a PVID (the default ID tag to add to untagged traffic), then go to VLAN to Ports and add all the VLANs you want to a port (make sure the PVID you set earlier matches the untagged VLAN choice here).
    RADIUS works well too .. although getting it to work with Microsoft’s ISA was a difficult for me.
    Last, perhaps most important, on their web pages there is a “Save Settings” button that I keep forgetting to scroll down and click after I’ve done a config change. Gets me every week or so.

  5. Just got one of these delivered to replace a switch that died.
    Wish I had seen this post first.
    This is the last Linksys switch I get…HP ProCurve from now on…
    price is not everything, especially in a Linux shop environment.

  6. You can get into the command line on the latest firmware by logging into the console via either serial, telnet or SSH, then hitting Ctrl Z (or, the equivalent of ASCII 032) and entering lcli at the prompt, then logging in again. The syntax in the CLI is similar to IOS, but probably not identical.

  7. I have 5 of these gigE switches. Firmware updates are a real pain, and boot_rom updates MUST be done via tftp only, at least when updating from early version of boot/firmware. The SSH appears to work, but all my linux machines are set to use a 768 bit key, and these things only use a 512 bit key; pain #2.

    Perhaps one day soon, someone will come up with a third party firmware for these things making them much better. Something along the lines of the DD-WRT project (www.dd-wrt.com) would be awesome!

  8. I managed to brick mine in the first day. Trying to do a firmware update in the hope of fixing the web interface issues. Unfortunately I used the web interface to do the firmware update, which gave no feedback and I rebooted it too soon. End Result=Brick. Luckily, I consoled in, repowered, and it allowed me to XMODEM up the firmware.

    Of course all of this was for naught. The web interface still won’t work in Firefox with or without IETab, and even has issues with IE7. Should’ve bought an old Cisco off of Ebay. Certainly won’t be using Linksys switches anymore. I think Cisco wants you to buy real Cisco switches so they let some high school developer right the linksys web interface. There is a big sticker on top of the switch advertising the Cisco trade-up program…

  9. For those that still have issues with this switch, check out this article. Hopefully it will make your life easier in working with this switch.

  10. I had the misfortune of configuring a similar switch, the SRW224P. The web interface appears to have been written by monkeys. Did you know you cannot have spaces in the VLAN names? The web interface will allow it even tough it disallows other characters, but it’ll disappear on boot. Changing VLANs is a royal PITA and you need to jump through hoops to do it. As I didn’t know about the telnet/serial trick, I ended up setting up a TFTP server and editing the config file directly; it’s just a list of Cisco-like commands.

    The SRW208MP is even worse: no cli and a binary config file :'( and if you upgrade the firmware, you MUST use IE7 – that’s right, IE6 and below will NOT work! If that wasn’t bad enough, you can’t downgrade it back to the old f/w either as you cannot find that f/w file anywhere; I spent an hour on hold w/tech support only to be told they do not have it either. I figured out why it needs IE7 though:

    if ()
    {
    }
    else if ()
    {
    }
    else if ()
    {
    };
    else if ()
    {
    }
    else if ()
    {
    }

    Do you see the problem? Yup, some idiot put a ‘;’ where there shouldn’t be one. It’s the monkeys I tell you!

    Anyway, I’ve found that both SRW208 f/w versions work *much* better when you disable the loading of images.

  11. You guys make things way too complicated; we have two of these switches. They setup in 5 minutes, and they simply work. End of story. Anyone with the mindset that a $450.00 piece of equipment will be as feature-rich and configuragble as a $3500.00 equivalent from the grown-up side of the company (Cisco) is a fool. This switch is very basic gigabit networking for companies/prosumer applications on tight budgets (like our firm)… And what’s with the pissing & moaning about IE? Can we stop blaming Microsoft now please? Granted, Vista is worth pissing & moaning about, but a properly configured XP Pro machine will run like a top for years (I’ve been using XP for 7 years now). Thanks for listening.

  12. Hi Jim,

    The main issue is the reason that it doesn’t seem to work in some versions of IE or firefox is a misplaced ‘;’ as shown in the post above yours. The problem that I have with this is that I’m an all Mac & Linux shop – we don’t use Windows, nor IE. This meant that configuring this switch required us to purchase a copy of Windows! A little overkill just to configure a switch 🙂

    After you break out to the shell, the SRW2024 is very much like a Cisco switch – that much so that I can’t really think of many normally used functions that aren’t possible on the SRW2024.

  13. I know this post of your is a year old but in case you haven’t figured it out yet you can telnet into the switch (port 23) — ssh is disabled by default but can be enabled once you are on the Admin Interface…

    PS — The ID ia admin but any password should work until you manually set one…

  14. After a firmware update, the admin interface doesn’t work on IE7. The hassle involved in downgrading IE to version 6 cost us more than the router. Not impressed.

  15. I have a linksys SRW224P started to configure the switch did the intitial config then tried telneting to the switch nothing what kinda switch u can telnet too i dont trust the web interface be it http or https the gui looks stupid…. there is also a config guide on how to config telnet tried it. That doesn’t work.Hmmmmm….linksys what more will u put out to make my life more difficult.

  16. I switched one of these, er, switches to the lcli but I can’t figure out how to change the router’s default IP address from 192.168.1.254 to something more meaningful to the machines on my network. I could do it through the default interface (which I can’t get back to now), and have been stumbling around the lcli a while without any luck.

    Does anyone know how to exit the lcli and get back to the default system interface (all I can do is exit to the lcli login prompt) or alternatively, does anyone know how to set the router’s IP address through the lcli? Thanks for any help!

  17. I managed to get the IP address set, and got everything working. I recorded the method I used here: http://lcli.wikidot.com/configure-switch-s-static-ip-address

  18. I have two of srw2024 Giga switches. Both have a problem with overheating while in use (this mean 25-50 Mb/s on half of ports). I got one replaced. But this is nothing to what I stumbled upon. I have this 3500XL cisco with 12.01 IOS which cannot connect with Linksys on untagged vlan niehter as native vlan nor as access port. It is being imidiately blocked by spanning tree. You may conclude there is a loop, but no. I am connecting these two with same config on other ports but through tagged vlans. I have another one switch is a lot easier and comprehensive d-link dgs 3100
    Have any one of you managed

  19. Any true quality managed Gigabit switch should give you a min of 50 MB/s sustained thru-put unless your using a realtek or a crappy nic. I have an old 3Com office connect 8 port switch with a 1 MB buffer that will do 10.5 MB/s Sustained between two workstations with intel pro 100S Desktop nic’s and 2 7200 rpm seagate 8MB Cache drives & p3-600 cpu’s. I’ve tried this with 6 pc’s connected to it and it only dropped to 10.2 MB/s. Cisco doesn’t advertise what the buffer is for the SRW2024 switch but says it’s switching cap is 48Gb/s as they well know thru-put is based on hardware, buffer, MTU’s, & MPPS not advertised port speed. Newegg says it has a 2 MB buffer. If that is in fact true then this switch is no faster than a Cisco 2950T-24 that has an 8MB packet memory buffer & 10.1 Mpps wire-speed forwarding rate of the back plane. Its like they’re advertising a car that has 50hp specification capable cylinders … does that mean if I have a v6 Ill get a 300hp engine ??? Let see 48Gb/s = 6GB/s this would be as fast as the Intel Itanium2 Zx1 bus speed .. which I highly doubt!!

  20. Piece of crap.
    It occasionaly reboots when I play with webui. No new firmware available. PLEASE AVOID THIS PRODUCT!

  21. Can any help me in setting up VLAN in SRW2024?
    I couldn’t any useful info regarding Setting up VLAN in SRW2024

    If any one has related materials share it across

    TIA

  22. Guys, I have to let out mny frustration about those switches.. tey are shit, period. Today one of them like.. stopped working.. properly. Leds blinking but no web, no transmission. strangely, broadcasts seemed to pass thru. No point of setting date/time, they all lose it anyway.
    This switch is like a fusion of cisco technology with total brainlessness. Could anyone tell me any reason (other than having clients up in their asses) why they didn’t fixed a single character in web interface for years now ?!
    This is a piece of crap i tell You. don’t touch it!

  23. Oh we bought some of these switches and I never thought to check if they could be configured from a Mac or Linux box. We don’t actually have any Windows machines at all in our network so I can’t even configure these. What a waste of money, my manager has now told me we are never to use Cisco again for anything and we’ve already purchased new kit from HP. The biggest problem is that they won’t fix it and more over don’t care about the customer, which is a good reason not to buy from Cisco. I just wish I had read this blog before and would have saved a bit of face. No one ever got fired for using Cisco but their network didn’t work either.

    By the way it doesn’t work in IE either as I did test.

  24. I just had my customer’s SRW2048 replaced under warranty by Cisco after 4 years of use. I was glad to find out that it had a 5-year warranty but before that, I had opened up the box to take a look. All 21 capacitors were bulging or leaking! If you’re having performance issues or the web interface refuses to work look inside for capacitors branded as ‘Stone’ – they are likely to leak and will cause a failure eventually. It took 10 days to get an advance replacement BTW so if you’re in a hurry it might be better to replace them yourself. The new switch has come with a different brand of cap made by Lelon – another Taiwanese manufacturer that had problems in the past.

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