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Enterprise Switches with Standard License or Advanced License: Which One to Choose?

Posted on Oct 30, 2023 by
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FS offers different software licenses with standard and advanced options. What are the differences between an enterprise switch equipped with a standard license and an enterprise network switch equipped with an advanced license? And how can you choose the best option that matches your requirements? The following section will provide a detailed introduction using the S5850-48T4Q enterprise switch as an example.

Standard vs Advanced Licensed Enterprise Switch: What are They?

The S5850-48T4Q enterprise network switch with a standard license, supports various common protocols and functions. However, apart from these common functions, the S5850-48T4Q enterprise network switch with an advanced license also supports some advanced features. Below is an introduction to the protocols and features supported by both the standard and advanced license:

 S5850-48T4Q enterprise switch

  • Support MLAG (Multi-chassis link aggregation) for uninterrupted services

  • Support MPLS, DHCP server, L2 multicast functions

  • Support CLI/WEB/SNMP/SSH/OVSDB/RPC-API for flexible operation

  • Support data center features (PFC, ECN, etc.) to build a lossless and low-latency network

  • Network monitoring through sampled flow (sFlow)

  • Support SSH, ACL, AAA, 802.1X, RADIUS, TACACS+, etc. for security

The enterprise network switch comes with complete system software with comprehensive protocols and applications, offering high performance, high port density, and low latency, bringing unlimited possibilities to users’ enterprise networks. Among all these functions, the attention-grabbing is MLAG (Multichassis Link Aggregation Group): a technology for cross-device link aggregation.

Mlag link

The advantages of MLAG are listed as follows:

  • MLAG enhances link aggregation groups (LAGs) by increasing link bandwidth, improving link reliability, and eliminating port blocking and latency.

  • High Bandwidth and Flexibility: MLAG allows for the simple bundling of additional links into a LAG, increasing both north-south and east-west bandwidth. It provides dual management and control planes, further enhancing flexibility. Since the control plane and fault domains are isolated, failures do not propagate to the peer switches.

  • Easy Upgrades: Each MLAG peer switch can be upgraded independently, making the process simple and low-risk. This prevents business interruptions during switch upgrades.

  • Simplified Network: MLAG prevents loop formation in layer 2 networks without the need for deploying spanning tree protocol configurations, greatly simplifying the data center network. Additionally, it adds node-level redundancy on top of the link-level redundancy provided by LAG.

For more detailed information about MLAG, please visit Using MLAG in Data Center Network Design.

Standard vs Advanced Licensed Enterprise Switch: What are the Differences?

The differences between standard and advanced licensed enterprise network switches lie in that the advanced one can support advanced features such as MPLS, LDP, MPLS L2VPN, MPLS L3VPN, VXLAN-BGP-EVPN, and IPFIX. Especially MPLS and VXLAN-BGP-EVPN can meet customers' advanced functional needs for next-generation enterprise network, data center, and metro Ethernet solutions.

MPLS: A Protocol to Guide the High-speed Forwarding of Data Packets

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a protocol proposed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that utilizes labels to guide the high-speed forwarding of data packets on an IP backbone network. It offers a new network switching method.

MPLS Link

MPLS has been widely adopted in current IP networks, and its main value and advantages are manifested in the following aspects:

  • MPLS is fully compatible with IP networks and can be seen as an improvement on IP networks. It boasts low construction costs and is easy to promote.

  • MPLS separates the control plane and forwarding plane. In the control plane, MPLS leverages IP routing to establish LSPs, making use of IP routing's flexibility and reliability mechanisms. In the forwarding plane, MPLS transmits packets through LSPs, facilitating connection-oriented communication. MPLS enables efficient traffic engineering and QoS implementation.

  • MPLS is a protocol-independent technology that supports protocols including Frame Relay, ATM, PPP, and SDH. This ensures interoperability among various networks and exhibits highly favorable compatibility.

  • MPLS networks support hierarchical topologies, making them suitable for deployment in IP backbone networks.

  • The MPLS label stack theoretically supports infinite nesting of labels, perfectly meeting the requirement of VPN services for multi-layer label encapsulation in public and private networks. Hence, MPLS provides robust support for the thriving development of VPN services.

VXLAN-BGP-EVPN: The Practical Implementation of VXLAN Communication Based on BGP EVPN

VXLAN-BGP-EVPN is a combination of EVPN (Ethernet VPN), BGP (Border Gateway Protocol), and VXLAN (Virtual Extensible Local Area Network). When applied to enterprise network switches, VXLAN-BGP-EVPN greatly improves the performance of enterprise network switches and provides a more powerful network deployment capability for data centers.

VXLAN-BGP-EVPN

The specific advantages are as follows:

  • Simplified network configuration: Links can be automatically discovered by VTEPs, and VXLAN tunnels can be automatically established and associated with VXLAN through MP-BGP, without the need for manual configuration by users, reducing the difficulty of network deployment.

  • Separation of control plane and data plane: The control plane is responsible for distributing routing information, while the data plane is responsible for forwarding packets. This clear division of labor makes it easier to manage.

  • Increased bandwidth utilization: When multiple VTEPs connect to the VXLAN network at the same site, multiple paths connecting the site can still carry traffic, which improves network bandwidth utilization.

  • Support for symmetrical IRB (integrated bridging and routing): MP-BGP can simultaneously disseminate Layer 2 MAC addresses and Layer 3 routing information. This allows VTEPs to not only perform Layer 2 forwarding but also implement Layer 3 routing.

  • Enhanced security: Segmentation and restriction of traffic generated by numerous devices connected to the network can isolate and restrict network segments, reducing the fault domain and improving network reliability.

To learn more, please visit Complete Guide: VXLAN-BGP-EVPN in Enterprise Network.

Standard vs Advanced Licensed Enterprise Switch: FS Product List

In the S5800, S5850, S8050, and S8050 series, there are certain switches that can be equipped with both standard and advanced licenses, allowing you to choose according to your specific needs. The specific product list is as follows:

 Product Type  Model Name Standard License ID Advanced License ID
Enterprise Switch
S5800-48T4S
100969 185422
S5800-48T4S-DC
143250 185423
S5800-48T4S-PE
160716 185424
S5800-48MBQ
127672 185425
S5850-24XMG
149747 185426
S5850-24XMG-U
149748 185427
S5850-24XMG-U
178834 186400
S5850-48T4Q
69378 185420
S5850-48T4Q-PE
156886 185421
S5850-48S6Q-R
173302 185429
S5850-48S6Q-R-PE
174493 185430
S8550-6Q2C
158185 185428

Conclusion

With the continuous development of network infrastructure, the scale of networks is becoming larger, and the variety of scenario solutions is becoming more complex. Choosing the appropriate switch software license that matches the requirements may be a bothersome issue. This article introduces standard vs advanced licensed enterprise network switch, hoping to assist you in selecting a suitable ethernet switch. For more information, please visit Introducing the Advanced License.

 

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