IT Pro Verdict
Heaps of network management features
Generous port allocation
Only includes basic L3 services
DrayTek has a knack for putting together feature-rich network solutions at SMB-friendly prices. The VigorSwitch P2100 is a case in point: this ten-port Gigabit Ethernet switch delivers PoE+ services on all copper ports, with full Layer 2 switching, basic Layer 3 routing capabilities and flexible management options. All for £131.
The P2100’s various connectors are clearly accessible across the front panel, with eight copper GbE ports each capable of supplying up to 30W of 802.3at PoE+ power. The total power budget of 140W may sound small, but it’s more than you’ll get from most other manufacturers at this price. It’s also less restrictive than you might fear: we tried hooking up four D-Link IP cameras to the switch, along with a Linksys wireless access point, and recorded a total power draw of only 13.5W.
The regular network ports are accompanied by a pair of Gigabit SFP ports. With many entry-level switches, using the SFP sockets puts a copper port out of service, but here they’re fully independent, so you can use all ten connectors at once.
It’s not just the connector count that’s generous – DrayTek also offers plenty of management models. For local administration you can use the P2100’s own web console, manage it from any DrayTek router that supports central management, or install the free VigorConnect app for Windows and Linux, which provides on-site monitoring and management of a whole swathe of VigorSwitch and Vigor AP devices. Alternatively, DrayTek’s cloud-hosted VigorACS 2 service offers remote management for around £8 per node per year – and for those who prefer not to rely on the cloud, DrayTek offers the VigorACS 3 version that can be hosted on-site.
For small businesses, the native web console may be fine. It’s very informative, with a graphical home page showing the connection speed of each port, and lightning bolt icons to indicate power. If you’re concerned about the power budget, you can set each port to one of three priority levels – if you run out of watts, the ports with the lowest priority will be automatically switched off first.
Since the P2100 runs the same core firmware as DrayTek’s enterprise switches, you don’t have to dig deep to find network features in abundance. Standard L2 features include port, MAC and protocol-based VLANs, QoS traffic prioritisation and static and LACP link aggregation groups. Basic L3 services (or L2+, as they’re sometimes called) include static IPv4 and IPv6 routing and inter-VLAN local routing – although you won’t get the dynamic routing found in a full L3 switch.
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The P2100 pairs particularly well with IP cameras. It identified our D-Link units right away and added quick-access icons next to the relevant ports. We could then use the switch’s ONVIF feature to check on live video streams directly within the web interface.
The switch can even help keep your cameras up and running, by automatically detecting when one has become unresponsive and cycling the power. Optionally, it will capture half-hourly snapshots from selected cameras, and when one goes offline it will send you an email alert with the last snapshot attached.
In addition to the native console, we tried out DrayTek’s central management using a Vigor 2927Lac router; this quickly discovered the switch and generated a hierarchical view showing which port the switch was attached to, along with a simple port status graphic. You can open a detailed view that again shows all switch ports, attached devices and power draw, with optional profiles to control selected ports, apply bandwidth limits and create VLANs.
If you want to power and manage a moderate number of IP cameras, the VigorSwitch P2100 is an excellent choice. Even if you don’t, it makes a very appealing general-purpose PoE+ switch: it’s strong on networking features, easy to manage and competitively priced.
DrayTek VigorSwitch P2100 specifications
|Desktop/1U rack chassis
|8x copper Gigabit Ethernet/PoE+, 2 x Gigabit SFP
|Total power budget
|140W power budget
|20Gbits/sec backplane capacity
|4.1Mbit packet buffer
|Total MAC addresses
|8K MAC addresses
|Web browser management
|2 year RTB warranty
Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.
Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.