Mikrotik Switches Vs Cisco Switches

As a worldwide leader in IT and fiber optical networking, Cisco switches play a leading role in manufacturing network switches and in providing switching solutions for data center and enterprise networks with large and medium-size forms. MikroTik, a Latvian company which was founded in 1996 to develop routers and wireless ISP systems. Their cloud switches are highly favored by many Ethernet users in recent years. And thus, people are entangled with Cisco and Mikrotik switches. This article would give brief introduction to Cisco and Mikrotik switches, and put emphasis on Mikrotik Switches Vs Cisco Switches.

Cisco Switches

According to different usage, Cisco divided their switches into the following categories: LAN Access Switches, LAN Digital Building Switches, LAN Core and Distribution Switches, Data Center Switches, Service Provider Switches, Industrial Ethernet Switches, Virtual Networking and Small Business Switches. And every category has its switching series. The Cisco Catalyst series switch delivers ease of management and configuration for small to medium-sized enterprise wiring closets in a single system, without the need for additional modules. The following list is about the Cisco Catalyst series switch.

Cisco Catalyst series switch

Mikrotik Switches

Comparing to Cisco switches, the total amount of Mikrotik switches is much smaller. According to the official website of Mikrotik, there are only twelve Mikrotik switches. Ethernet smart switches and cloud core router switches are two series switches of Mikrotik switches. The cloud core switch, or cloud router switch, abbreviated as CRS, is a highly configurable switch, powered by RouterOS. They are the new products of Mokrotik switches. For the cloud router switch, there are nine models currently available. Here lists three different cases of the cloud core switch:

  • CRS125-24G-1S-2HnD-IN (integrated wireless, indoor case)
  • CRS125-24G-1S-IN (indoor case)
  • CRS125-24G-1S-RM (rackmount case)

Mikrotik Switches Vs Cisco Switches

—CPU

The CPU on both Cisco and Mikrotik switches is used for management purposes (snmp stats, cli management, etc) and it does not affect the data path. Switching is not done in CPU, neither on Cisco nor on Mikrotik. Switching is done on dedicated ASIC chips specifically designed for this job (thus giving wirespeed). So comparing the CPUs won’t mean much about forwarding performance – which is the metric you should care about.

—Power Consumption

One of big problems with Mikrotik switches is their power. The buyers would prefer to pay another couple hundred dollars to have dual power supplies that are removable. And thus, many Ethernet users cannot use Mikrotik in these cases. Comparing to Mikrotik switches, Cisco switches have less power consumption by their advanced technology.

—Network Monitoring Software Systems

Most network monitoring software systems natively understand, support and auto-detect Cisco devices and support Cisco SNMP OIDs (CPU, temp, load, bandwidth, errors, power supply status, and many other sub-system counters in a Cisco device.

When configuring your existing network monitor system(s), your network monitor system(s) may not even know what a Mikrotik is and probably does not have native built-in MIBs/OIDs used by SNMP to auto-check/monitor a network. Thus, an administrator would probably need to configure the Mikrotik graphic icons and configure all of the SNMP checks for MIBs/OIDs from/to a Mikrotik.

Mikrotik Switches Vs Cisco Switches: How to Select?

Mikrotik routers and switches are great. Most people like them and use them almost everywhere. However, because Mikrotik is still the new kid on the block when it comes to carrier-grade commercial-grade business grade high-throughput products, it may sometimes be a little difficult to find local network technicians or local phone support for Mikrotik products when adding new equipment into your network. So Cisco switch is more solid and people are more satisfied with them.

Cloud Core Switch—An Economic Choice for L3 Switch

MikroTik Switches have been popularly received favorable reviews, and this is inseparable with their keeping on the bleeding edge of switching technology. As a new member of MikroTik Smart Switch series, cloud core switch, also called cloud router switch, combing the best features of a fully functional router and a Layer 3 switch. That is to say, this cloud router switch works as both switch and router to connect the VLAN. This article would mainly discuss about cloud core switch, CRS226-24G-2S+RM switch and its connectivity solutions, as well as the reasons why they are economic choice for L3 switch.

About Cloud Core Switch

The cloud core switch, or cloud router switch, abbreviated as CRS, is a highly configurable switch, powered by RouterOS. It has 24 Gigabit Ethernet port. The Ethernet port 2-24 are switched, and the device can be accessed via these ports through the IP 192.168.88.1. Ethernet port 1 is configured as a DHCP client and has firewall on it. The SFP port is configured the same way as Ethernet 1, with a firewall and DHCP client on it. For the cloud router switch, there are nine models currently available. Here lists three different cases of the cloud core switch:

  • CRS125-24G-1S-2HnD-IN (integrated wireless, indoor case)
  • CRS125-24G-1S-IN (indoor case)
  • CRS125-24G-1S-RM (rackmount case)

MikroTik cloud router switch

Figure1: MikroTik cloud router switches(Resource: www.MikroTik.com)

Cloud Core Switch CRS226-24G-2S+RM

As one of the cloud core switches, CRS226-24G-2S+RM have been highly favored by most people. CRS226-24G-2S+RM is a fully functional layer 3 cloud router switch powered by Router OS, which is also available in 1U rackmount case. It comes with a special switch menu which includes all the specific configuration options for switches. It has 24 Gigabit ports and two SFP+ cages for 10G connectivity in which first SFP port supports 1.25G/10G modules and second port only 10G modules. Ports can be removed from the switch configuration and used for routing purposes if needed. The most distinctive feature of CRS226-24G-2S+RM is that uses a new class of switch chips, which allows us to have two SFP+ ports for 10G connectivity. The main features of this cloud core switch are listed in the following:

  • Fully manageable L3 switch, full wire speed switching
  • Configure ports as switch, or for routing
  • If required, full RouterOS power right there
  • SFP+ ports for 10G connectivity

CRS226-24G-2S+RM_big

Figure2: cloud core switch CRS226-24G-2S+RM(Resource: www.MikroTik.com)

Connectivity Solutions for CRS226-24G-2S+RM

As being mentioned, the cloud core switch CRS226-24G-2S+RM has 24 Gigabit ports and 2 SFP+ ports. For the twenty-four 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, you could use both network cables and optical transceivers to connect. The transmission speed of Cat5 and Cat5e cables can be up to 100 Mb/s and 1G respectively. Besides, you can also use 10/100/1000BASE-T copper transceiver to make network connectivity. But it costs more than the network cables. In terms of 10G SFP+ ports, there are also two connectivity approaches. You can use both 10G SFP+ modules and 10G SFP+ DAC copper cable to connect. Relatively speaking, the 10G DAC cable is cheaper a lot than the 10G transceiver. But if transmission quality is your pursuit, and then 10GBASE SFP+ transceivers would be a good choice.

Why Are Cloud Core Switches Economic Choice for L3 Switch?

According to the above description, cloud core switches are powered by Router OS. RouterOS lets you add upper layer functionality. The cloud core switch is very far below wire speed when doing layer 3 or above. In fact, the cloud core switch is more of a bare-bones layer 2 switch that has an embedded low-horsepower router. In short, the switch features are useful for making bridges that work at wire speed, but they’re limited to simple forwarding and vlan handling. The bridge feature lets you glue almost anything together, and gives lots of filtering/manipulation tools, but it cannot perform at wire speed because it uses the main CPU. Last but not least, the average prices of Mikro Tik cloud core switches are not more than $150, you can check them by this link.

Conclusion

Cloud core/router Switch is a managed switch that runs RouterOS and SwitchOS, which delivers a high performance as a Layer 3 switch. They allow to manage port-to-port forwarding, apply MAC filter, configure VLANs, mirror traffic, apply bandwidth limitation and even adjust some MAC and IP header fields. The economic L3 switch including several switch models covering wide range applications, like enterprise network and home network.