24-port PoE Ethernet switches

D-Link might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think about corporate networking, but it's actually quite active in this sector with a range of products for both small to medium sized businesses and enterprise deployment.

For this group test the company submitted a mid-range DES-1526, the 26 at the end indicating the number of network ports on offer. It offers a total of 24 10/100Mb/sec ports for local device attachment plus a couple of Gigabit ports for use as high speed uplinks to servers or a backbone network. These are all positioned on the front panel of the 1U rack-mount device (brackets supplied) with RJ-45 connectors throughout plus slots for optional fibre adaptors on the uplinks.

Unusually there's no connector for a local management console or telnet access to the DES-1526. The only way to access the DES-1526's settings is via SNMP or a web-based GUI. You also get a Windows program called the Web Management Utility to discover D-Link switches on the LAN. This can also be used to remotely update the switch firmware, although to configure the switch itself it simply throws you into a browser using the default address assigned at the factory.

In common with a lot of D-Link products, the Web GUI is pretty rudimentary, so don't expect fancy graphical representations. All you get is a series of menu-driven lists from which you can see and set the various options. And it's all basic Layer 2 stuff, albeit with VLAN, port trunking and, of course, the Power over Ethernet facilities on top.

There's just the one built-in power supply on the DES-1526 and it only has 170W to play with (the quick install guide says 155W, but that's not correct), which means it will stop delivery to additional devices once this limit is reached. Moreover, there's no explicit prioritisation. Rather the lower the port number the higher the priority for PoE, which means careful patching and balancing of the port settings if you want to power a lot of devices.

Not that there's much you can configure. Just the ability to enable/disable the PoE support on selected ports and a choice of four different power ceilings. Thankfully you can see how much power each port is delivering once devices are attached and change the settings to suit. Plus there's a summary of the amount of power being consumed overall and what's left to share out.

Whether or not the lack of power is an issue will depend on the number of devices you want to hook up. Most of the things we tried needed only 6-8W so, in practice, the 170W limit could support all 24 ports. The D-link switch also stood up well in our tests, delivering the expected power levels to both our PowerDsine tester and the various PoE devices we attached.

On the downside there wasn't that much more to the D-Link switch other than limited VLAN support and some QoS facilities. We weren't that impressed by the interface either.


Supplies the power but a bit basic and over-priced given the specification

Type: Layer 2 Ethernet switch 10/100Mb/sec UTP ports: 24 Gigabit ports : 2 - shared adapter slots for fibre connectivity Switching capacity: 8.8Gb/sec MAC addresses: 4000 VLANs: 64 PoE budget: 170W Redundant power: No