Jonathon Rossi

My little bit of the internet.

Network Switches and 'The Dell Experience'

This is my first real blog post about something other than releases of Castle Visual Studio Integration. I appreciate any feedback on my content, writing style, or my choice of topic.

Last year I attempted to contact Dell Australia to get prices for their PowerConnect network switch range. I was and still am in the market for a 24 port gigabit network switch.

The Dell customer service was terrible. I rang up multiple times a day for over a week. After waiting on hold for a long time I got to speak to operators from a call centre in India. I thought Michael Dell came back to improve the company, he must have missed the customer service or maybe just Australia. He did very well with the rest of the company, I own a Dell laptop and am very happy with it.

From ringing up so many times I was not only frustrated because they couldn’t understand me, but I couldn’t understand them either. The line quality was pretty bad, as well as there being an echo and a delay in the line. They also would always ask you for your phone number to ring you back because the line would drop out pretty often, however they would never ring you back if the line did drop out. I was also disappointed that very few of the operators I attempted talking to even knew what a Dell PowerConnect was. Come on, these guys are meant to be selling expensive gear here and I know more about what they sell than they do. I even rang up the number for the 5000+ employee companies (or something like that) and was greeted by a friendly Australian girl, however that is as far as my luck went, I was back into the call centre after she forwarded me.

One call I made actually got me to a consultant, however he could only give me “estimates” of prices, what good are estimates, I was asking for a quote. I got half way through asking for prices for several models and the line dropped out. A lot of what this consultant said didn’t make sense. The prices he provided are actually more expensive than the prices I obtained from Dell over a year ago.

I finally gave up trying to get prices from them; something must have been telling me that Dell network switches are not worth looking at.

I am currently considering purchasing a Netgear GS724T 24-port gigabit switch. Both the Netgear switch and an equivalent Dell have the same switching capacity of 48Gbps, so they are pretty comparable.

I don’t need (and can’t afford) a Cisco, so I am looking at Netgear, Linksys and D-Link. The switch will be used at home so it isn’t going to be flogged all day long and doesn’t need to have all the fancy VLAN and VPN support that Cisco switches have. Have you got one of these type switches or used them before? Do you prefer one brand over another? Do you have any recommendations for me?