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LAN & WAN Reviews

VLAN

VLANs separate ports on a switch to improve network performance, security, and management. The 802.1q VLAN standard specifies that data frames traversing a trunk between switches are tagged with a VLAN ID.

The TEG-160WS supports up to 256 VLANs with point-and-click configuration.  To add a port to a VLAN, just click on the VLAN and click on tagged or untagged to make it a member of that VLAN.  To create a VLAN trunk, assign one untagged VLAN and one or more tagged VLANs to that port. 

In the screenshot below, I made port 9 an untagged member of VLAN 2 and port 10 an untagged member of VLAN 1 and a tagged member of VLAN 2.

VLAN configuration

VLAN configuration

I used the following simple test to validate 802.1q VLAN tagging. This test requires the test switch, a known good switch that supports 802.1q tagging, two basic routers with their DHCP server enabled, and two PCs.

  1. On router 1, configure DHCP server to provide IP addresses in 192.168.1.0 range.
  2. On router 2, configure DHCP server to provide IP addresses in 192.168.2.0 range.
  3. On the test switch:
    1. Configure VLAN 2 and assign a port to VLAN 2, untagged.
    2. Configure an 802.1q trunk for VLAN 1 untagged and VLAN 2 tagged.
    3. Connect router 1 to an access port configured for VLAN 1, untagged.
    4.   Connect router 2 to an access port configured for VLAN 2, untagged.
  4. On the known good switch:
    1. Configure VLAN 2 and assign a port to VLAN 2, untagged
    2. Configure an 802.1q trunk for VLAN 1 untagged and VLAN 2 tagged.
    3. Connect 802.1q trunk between test and known good switches.
    4. Connect PC 1 to an access port configured for VLAN 1, untagged.
      • It should get an IP address from router 1 in 192.168.1.0 range.
    5. Connect PC 2 to an access port configured for VLAN 2, untagged.
      • It should get an IP address from router 2 in 192.168.2.0 range.

I ran the above test on the TEG-160WS with a Netgear GS108T.  The test was successful, the TEG-160WS correctly passed the VLAN 2 tag and my PC got an IP address from router 2.

The TEG-160WS also supports port-based VLANs.  Port based VLANs on the TEG-160WS are called Asymmetric VLANs.  An Asymmetric VLAN on the TEG-160WS basically allows a port to be a member of multiple VLANs without tagging.

As mentioned, the TEG-160WS manual provides a decent port-based VLAN example.  The manual walks you through the settings to configure the ports on the switch in three different VLANs, with all ports able to access the Internet, yet ensuring inter-VLAN traffic is blocked.

STP

Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) prevents switching loops that can cause significant network performance problems.  The TEG-160WS supports only basic STP.  It does not support Rapid STP (RSTP) or Multiple STP (MST).  RSTP and MST can manage network loops faster and have more options, but STP should satisfy the needs of buyers with smaller networks.  The TEG-160WS has STP options for adjusting the STP bridge priority value, as well as the STP timers.  STP is disabled by default on the TEG-160WS.

STP is easy to test.  I ran a continuous ping on my network across the switch, using the DOS command ping (IP address) –t.  With STP disabled, I plugged both ends of an Ethernet cable into two ports assigned to the same VLAN, creating a loop.  I created a loop on ports 15 and 16 on my TEG-160WS.  Almost immediately, my ping and all network activity on that VLAN came to a screeching halt.   

To complete the test, I removed the loop and allowed the switch to come back on line.  Then, I enabled STP and plugged my cable back in, recreating the loop.  This time, the switch detected the loop and blocked port 15, as shown in the screen shot below.  My ping continued uninterrupted and activity on that VLAN was unaffected, proving the functionality of STP on the TEG-160WS.

STP successfully blocking a port

STP successfully blocking a port

Link Aggregation / Trunking

Most switches I’ve tested call a multiport link between switches a Link Aggregation Group, or LAG.  The TRENDnet TEG-160WS refers to a Link Aggregation Group as a "trunk".  According to TRENDnet’s specifications, the TEG-160WS will support up to 6 trunks/LAGs with up to 8 members in each.  

Naming conventions aside, the important question is - does it work?  To verify trunk/LAGs on the TEG-160WS, I configured port 13 and 14 to be members of a trunk/LAG, along with two ports on a Cisco SG200 to also be members of a trunk/LAG.  I connected these ports and saw the TEG-160WS successfully establish the 2 port trunk/LAG to the Cisco switch.

The only negative with the TEG-160WS’ trunk/LAG capability is there are no indicators in the TEG-160WS menus that a trunk/LAG is established.  The only indicators I had that the trunk/LAG was working were I was able to pass traffic between the two switches and the Cisco switch menu showed the active LAG, below.

Cisco switch showing active LAG

Cisco switch showing active LAG

QoS

The TEG-160WS supports 802.1p priority tagging for managing Quality of Service on the switch.  Each port can be assigned to one of four different queues, shown below, labeled as Low, Middle (default), High and Highest.  Additional QoS features, such as per port ingress and egress bandwidth controls, are not available.

Setting QoS priority

Setting QoS priority

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