Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cisco Lanlite 2960 concerns

A look at some restrictions on lanlite  software  as of 15.0(2)SE5   C2960-LANLITEK9-M 

Cisco has confused the enterprise community with the deployment of  lanlite software supported 2960 series switches.  A lot of network engineers have been burn due to their lack of understanding differences beween lanlite and lanbase.

I’m going to reference some of the differences via the http-link here & the FAQ;

Lanlite was meant for cisco to sell a cheaper switch & with less features support. It's considered a entry level switch at best & a upgrade from their basic business model 500s series or the linksys series.

It's very restrictive, and not upgrade by any means. A lot of networks ended up forklift'ing a new switch in place if they decide that they need an important feature. I hoping to prevent you from being one of those people.

Using pricing from  CDW ,  a WS-C2960-48TT-L cost just right at 1,500.00 usd. This comes with lanbase no stacking support. A similar  2960-48TT-S with lanlite cost just over 1,000.00 usd.

If a enterprise-network engineer teams are looking at 2960s,  than you will have some limitations that you should be made aware of. I hope this post will help you recognize some of these limitations with lanlite.

The 1st  item , lanlite-codeset lack  support for the feature of stacking. This means you can not stack multiples of  2960 into a cluster. As a matter of fact, these switches that supports lanlite, has no stacking-module slot. So you have no upgrade strategy if you later need stacking support. I 've been pushing the stacking feature & you should place that on your radar.

STACKING:  reduces the number of manage ip_address devices, scales very well.

Next, security features like dynamic  arp inspection ( DAI ) are not available and the same holds true on vlan filtering. If you need these two features, you will not find them in lanlite.

Next, the 2960s models that supports 10GIG interface, are not available within  lanlite codeset.

QoS features such as "auto qos" are not support on a lanlite switch as of this code and at this time of my posting. 

Certain  QoS strategies are different between lanbase & lanlites, I'm not 100% sure of these differences but you should be & if you have voice or realtime data QoS in your  network.

Lanlite does support ipv6 addressing and management & after you've changed the sdm template to that of a dual-role support for ipv4 and ipv6. So on a good note, you have some degree of Ipv6 support for management.


You have no  ipv6 security filter features such as these;

  •    ipv6 neighbor protection
  •    ipv6 snooping
  •    MLD snooping
  •    ipv6 neighbor binding ( similar to what DAI does but for ipv6 btw )

Lanlite also support a limit number of vlans  when compared to the lanbase code. What 's the max number are between the two license is going to be based on the sdm template that you select. But with  lanlite it's normally 64 vlans max vrs 255 for lanbase series.

if you  have more than 64vlans or every plan on a big number of VLANs skip the lanlite. I had a customer of mine that ran into this and they struggle to realize what the root problem was

One interesting thing that I just found out recently, lanlite  has no support for  cisco "ip sla" monitoring and diagnostics. This could suck for those that are using ip sla diagnostics like myself.

And finally,  a lanlite switch is ALWAYS going to be a lanlite switch. These switches are not software upgradable. Cisco imho, screw themselves with regards to this. I personally think they should have made this a pay-as-you-go and with a license activate process. So this way you could buy a entry level switch and purchase enhancement without forklift'ing a new switch in due to you just now realize you need auto qos, more than 64 vlans or the need for more than 1 monitor span session :)

Lanlite switches do have a place in some situations, and this thread should  not be " a written in stone that all lanlite deployments are bad ". A SOHO or Small business would do great with lanlite vrs lanbase software.

So those are the things to consider when doing  lanlite or selecting the new idf-floor switch for you network

Ken Felix
Freelance Network / Security Engineer
kfelix  ----a---t---socpuppets ---d---o---t---com

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