Software

A big portion of products like a managed switch comes down to the software side of things. Most performance comes down to things like the amount of bandwidth the switch has, port speeds, and for POE switches total power available. But software simplicity and the number of features are what sets a lot of things apart. I’ll be the first to admit that my average level of expertise when it comes to network hardware ends just before you get into a full layer 2 managed switch. I can handle what they used to call a web-managed switch which isn’t a dumb switch but doesn’t dive too much into VLANs so using the ECS2512FP has been a learning experience for me and will continue to be as I work in integrating it into my own office network. But what is interesting to me is in a way EnGenius has that sort of experience in mind. Unlike my other layer 2 switches, the ECS2512FP was much simpler to setup due to supporting EnGenius Cloud which is something I had already used in the past with their access point.

This made setup easy because I already had the EnGenius Cloud app setup. So I just needed to add the ECS2512FP into the mix. This meant going to add device and then the app pops up with the camera for you to scan the QR code on the bottom of the switch. They let you register it and from there it is up and running and good to go.

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You can see all of your cloud supported switches and APs on the network tab which also lists out information like total runtime which if you have a lot of devices you can unplug one for a second and spot it on the list. The app can also give you a notification when devices go down as well, right to your phone for quick management.

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The cloud app does let you get into port settings and VLAN configuration on a basic level. You can also see on the detail page all of the active ports as well as their current status. POE is graphed out showing you your total budget as well.

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In addition to the cloud app, you can also log into the cloud web interface. This is what I used for a lot of my overall network management. Especially with this giving, you access to client lists for your access points. The landing page offers client and access point information graphed out. You can also see how many devices you have on your network.

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When you get into your device lists you can see a lot of the information that the phone app gives like port status in a basic layout. Opening up the switch page has most of that repeated on the summary page along with adding graphs for CPU and memory use which is nice. You can also setup a static IP here as well.

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The cloud web interface does open up more options as well. There are network-wide settings and then per device, you can change some of them independently. This includes turning on QoS, jumbo frames, and VLANs for voice. This is also where you can turn on the local GUI which is the local interface for the switch.

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You can dive into port settings which includes forcing VLAN, labeling ports, forcing speeds, and even setting PoE priority. You can also isolate a single port from the rest of the network if needed and change QoS priority. Everything that even an inexperienced person like me might need to change.

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You can also see the device logs for reboots, to see information on devices who join the network, and any other errors or issues that come up.

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Now you would think the app and the cloud web interface would be all of the software. But the ECS2512FP does also have its web interface and this is where they have all of the advanced features. Like I said before, some of this is beyond my current knowledge, but rather than try to pack everything into here with pictures I did a basic video going through all of the options. I like that EnGenius kept this layout simple and to the point. You start with the summary and then can get into your IP settings, static routes, HDCP, and POE right in the system tab. Port settings and even the information on SFP modules are all in this area. They then split off all of the layer 2 functionality into its own section. This starts with simple stuff like link aggregation and mirroring for redundancies. They split off all of the VLAN functionality into its own section. The management tab mostly just has user and system information, but you can also get into SNMP which lets devices talk to each other. QoS settings are on their own and even let you go port by port for full bandwidth control if needed. Then all of the security options are in the security tab. Monitoring has basic things like port statistics and logs as well as RMON for remote access to network information. Then for the last tab, they packed in a few diagnostic tools on the diagnostic tab for things like a ping test, traceroute tests, and doing cable tests. Beyond that up in the top right corner, you can do quick reboots and backup and upgrades for both install partitions (redundant in case of an issue).

 

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