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


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.

Stacking Vs. Chassis Switch: How to Choose?

Maximizing scalability and optimizing performance are two paramount factors when you design or upgrade your network. It is hard to find the right balance. Given that you need more than 48 ports in a wiring closet, but you could not decide which type of switches to buy. Stacking switch or non-stacking switch? Or does a modular chassis switch solution make more sense? In this article, we would make a comparison between stacking and chassis access switches and guide you to make an appropriate decision.

Stacking Switches Solutions

Over the years, stacking network switches have been highly favored by lots of Ethernet users and been a core component of an enterprise-grade switch. So what is reason for the popularity of stacking switches? By using stacking switches, we can add ports as we need them by simply purchasing another switch and adding it to the stack. We can stack up to nine Cisco 3750-X switches and have 432 x 10/100/1000 ports and 18 x 10 Gbps ports. We can do this using only 9RU’s of rack space. A chassis would require over double the rack space to achieve this access port density. This makes these switches very popular as top-of-rack switches in the data center.


Figure1: Brocade Stackable Switches (Resource: www.Brocade.com)

Pros of Stacking Switches
  • Pay-as-you-grow
  • Small Physical Footprint
  • Convenient 100v Power Standard
  • Virtual Chassis Capability
  • Cross-Stack EtherChannel
Cons of Stacking Switches
  • Management Difficulties
  • Power Demands
  • Software Complexity
  • Instability
Chassis Switches Solutions

Chassis devices, often being “premier” devices, may offer software and/or hardware features unavailable on a stack. They are the flagship models of every vendor’s switching line. In contrast to the fixed configuration switches, it is engineered to operate as single integrated system. Configuring high availability is simple and it works every single time. A failed line card will not bring down the entire chassis. Additionally, a chassis will drive consistency in deployment.

Cisco Chassis Switch

Figure2: Cisco Chassis Switches (Resource: www.Cisco.com)

Pros of Stacking Switches
  • Solid High Availability Features
  • Modular Design
  • Supports Wide Range of Line Cards
  • Simple to Deploy
Cons of Stacking Switches
  • Physical Space (twice the space of stacks)
  • Expensive Power Supplies
  • 220v Power for PoE Solutions
How to Choose?

Just as the same as the every comparison on the similar kits, the decision really depends on your actual requirements. Once we have this, finding the right hardware is very straightforward. It is important to balance the cost of acquisition versus the cost of operations and impact to the business due to outages. And that is what we always thinking about when we make a decision.

In this article, we mainly provide the detailed information about stacking and chassis switches solutions, and offer you relatively enough information to help you to make a decision on choosing the best switching solutions for setting up or upgrading your network. There are too many variables to give a one-size-fits-all recommendation, but in general chassis Ethernet switches’ solutions are our preference. In addition, you should keep in mind that pricing should not be the focused too much. We can get both designs for a pretty reasonable price, regardless of requirements. If your network can benefit from both stackables and chassis, the chassis solution would be a good choice.

Related Article: Stacked switches vs Chassis switch at the core

Single Switch Vs. Multiple Switch: How to Select for Home Network?

Network switches are indispensable part on setting up a home network. For home Gigabit Ethernet switches, both one large single switch and multiple switch are good options. Using one large switch, the speed of data transferring could be faster but the problem is you have to run multiple lines throughout the house. Using multiple switches at home maybe redundant at some extent. So how to choose?

For choosing single large switch or multiple smaller switch applied to home network, it is not an easy question to answer. Because it involves various factors—size of the house, power consumption, fiber or copper, rack mount or not. Besides, you still need to consider how dense each part of the house will have networking. And then, in terms of this topic, we did some researches on some professional forums to investigate and congregate thoughts. Most of them prefer to use one larger switch rather than multiple smaller switches for home networking. The reasons are described in the following part.

switch stacking

Figure1: multiple smaller switch stack

By using a central switch you will have UPS protection, unless you have an UPS at each location of course. And using a larger switch instead of multiple smaller ones, just because you will end up using less power that way. By using multiple switches, just make sure you buy two in case of hardware failure, that is the downside of centralizing everything to one device. So in that way, you will cost more to make sure the work of the hardware. In the below statement, we would list some merits and demerits to further clarify the reason why it is better to choose one large single switch instead of multiple smaller switches for home network.

Benefits of Using A Single Switch
  • A single switch will give you more security and better manageability, since it is centrally located.
  • In case of a small building, it is feasible to have a single optical switch catering to everyone. But if the building is big, then due to distance limitation of fast Ethernet, it may not be possible for one switch to cater to all the users. In this case, you will have to go for multiple switch solution.
  • One single switch will give you better performance than many switches. This is because in case of many switches, the inter-switch link is usually fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet, but when you are using a single switch, switch backbone operates at much higher speeds.

So we can infer that if you have a small network, then you can start with single switch, and then as the network grows, you can migrate to multiple switch scenario. But if you are planning for a single switch situation, please think about a backup for this switch (either automatic failover or manual failover), so that in case of failure you can switch to the backup.

Weakness of Using Multiple Switches

First of all, using multiple switches dispatched in the different places is some sort of complexity. You need to connect all of them through some paths. And then, power consumption is also a big trouble. Using multiple switches inevitably brought much more power consumption than single switches. Besides, using multiple or redundant switch is common for security specially IP camera. If one of the switch breaks, then your other camera is still accessible. Then you have the distance limitation, which if this is the case, then you don’t have a choice but to implement more switch.


Figure2: fabric of multiple switches


According to the above description and analysis, we can draw a conclusion that using a single large network switches are better than using multiple smaller switches for home networking in most cases. But if you own an extremely larger house to meet your network requirement, and then multiple smaller switches would be good options.

Layer 2, Layer 3 & Layer 4 Switch: What’s the Difference?

Network switches are always seen in data centers for data transmission. Many technical terms are used with the switches. Have you ever noticed that they are often described as Layer 2, Layer 3 or even Layer 4 switch? What are the differences among these technologies? Which layer is better for deployment? Let’s explore the answers through this post.

What Does “Layer” Mean?

Switch is used for linking the network devices together and switching the data from one port to another based on information from the packets being transmitted. The information complies with the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) seven-layer model to ensure product interoperability. OSI model is a conceptual model that characterizes and standardizes the communication functions of a telecommunication or computing system without regard to their underlying internal structure and technology. Therefore, switches working on different layers of OSI model are described as Lay 2, Layer 3 or Layer 4 switch.

OSI model

Switch Layers
Layer 2 Switching

Layer 2 is also known as the data link layer. It is the second layer of OSI model. This layer transfers data between adjacent network nodes in a WAN or between nodes on the same LAN segment. It is a way to transfer data between network entities and detect or correct errors happened in the physical layer. Layer 2 switching uses the local and permanent MAC (Media Access Control) address to send data around a local area on a switch.

layer 2 switching

Layer 3 Switching

Layer 3 is the network layer in the OSI model for computer networking. Layer 3 switches are the fast routers for Layer 3 forwarding in hardware. It provides the approach to transfer variable-length data sequences from a source to a destination host through one or more networks. Layer 3 switching uses the IP (Internet Protocol) address to send information between extensive networks. IP address shows the virtual address in the physical world which resembles the means that your mailing address tells a mail carrier how to find you.

layer 3 switching

Layer 4 Switching

As the middle layer of OSI model, Layer 4 is the transport layer. This layer provides several services including connection-oriented data stream support, reliability, flow control, and multiplexing. Layer 4 uses the protocol of TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) which include the port number information in the header to identify the application of the packet. It is especially useful for dealing with network traffic since many applications adopt designated ports.

layer 4 switching

Which Layer to Use?

As for small networks, Layer 2 switches might be a good option. However, most networks will combine the Lay 2 and Layer 3 switches. Layer 3 is more intelligent and provides all the functionality of Lay 2 networks. Therefore, Layer 2 switches are used to provide cheap and easy connectivity to workgroups and Layer 3 switches are used to enable departmental networks to be segmented and controlled with no loss of bandwidth. Likewise, Layer 4 switch contains all the features of Layer 3 switch and some additional functions. Layer 4 switch is the enhanced version to provide higher class of service for controlling the network traffic.


With the development of technologies, the intelligence of switches are continuously progressing on different layers of the network. The mix application of different layer switches (Layer 2, Layer 3 and Layer 4 switch) is a more cost-effective solution for big data centers. Understanding these switching layers can help you make better decisions.