What network switch to use?


I’m just about at the point of needing to run some more network cables and add one more network switch.

Current set up is:

Unmanaged Switch 1 ---- To office / main IT gubbins / OH / hue bridge etc
Unmanaged Switch 2 ---- to lounge bits / TV / Sonos / Xbox

I’ve got 2 issues:

  1. is that I’m out of space in switch 1 so need another anyway with more ports, (current is only 8)
  2. I need to get some cables out into the loft or garage so I can run some cables out for cameras

I’ve got various options but one that I’m muling is to drop a managed switch into the router, move the important IT stuff into it and then feed all the other unmanaged switches from it, moving the now spare switch 1 into the loft / garage to use…

managed switch ---- unmanaged switch 1 ---- cameras
| ^------ IT gubbins
unmanaged switch 2 ---- lounge gubbins

So, my question to you guys is if I did go down this route I’d quite like to get a switch that is supported / integrated with OH so I can report / trigger on activity etc.

Does anyone have any experience in getting a managed / unmananged switch into OH and if so what one and what have you been able to use it for in OH??? Or should I just save some money and get another unmanged switch as there’s not much benefit???

Unless you have a specific need, then I wouldn’t both with a managed switch. You can mess things up quite easily if your not careful.

I’m not sure what you mean by

OpenHAB is an application that sits on an Operating System, which does all the network stuff for you. So OH doesn’t know or care what type of switch you have.

If you can explain a little more about what you think you want to achieve I may be able to help further.

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Thanks, what I was wondering is if there was a switch that was directly integrated with OH so it can do more than just the basics…ie notice when network traffic comes from a different attached device on the switch etc…

It might be the OH can snif the switch and network already and I just don’t know how to go about it…yet

That could likely be accomplished using SNMP traps which is dependent mainly on the switch features. I do not think tat is normally available on the unmanaged switches usually used in a house. Managed switches can be insanely expensive since they are targeted for enterprise use.

If you’re feeling brave, then take a look for Cisco 2950 switches on ebay. You can pick them up quite cheap these days as they aren’t that powerful. 10/100Mb ports only. But should work fine in most home environments, unless you intend to push around large amounts of data.

There is a load of information across the Internet to explain SNMP on Cisco switches, so you should be able to achieve what you want. Which may not be what you expected.

OH isn’t going to discover all of the good stuff that SNMP can do for you, so you’ll need to get stuck in a build it yourself.


I’ll chime in on this with a recommendation for a UniFi switch from Ubiquiti. There is an OH2 binding available for Ubiquiti WAPs and switches. I have both UniFi WAPs and a 24-port managed, PoE switch from Ubiquiti with which I have been very happy. The only con is that the UniFi devices require that you run a controller service (web service), so you have to have a system on which to run that service. I run mine in a xen VM. I will add that the value added with the controller service is well worth the minimal hassle of setting everything up.

… my $.02

Good luck!

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Thanks all, I’ll take a look at the options…

I’m also going to see if I can get what I need from the SNMP binding…

My understanding is that you would use an managed switch if you intend to shape your network traffic ((multiple) VLANs, automated network analysis, load balancing, you name it).
As such managed switches a way more expensive than unmanaged switches and, as said before, mostly used in enterprise context.
Not saying you shouldn’t get one - but if you decide to buy one be aware that you might have to invest a bit - both money and time to handle the managed switch the way you want.

No that’s out of scope for OH.
Get a NMS if you feel you need this but I don’t see the point why one would need a GUI for stuff like sniffing. As a network freak I’ve got 10Gbps Netgear switches.
Note you can always use L3 or higher stuff such as the network binding to ping your devices and trigger upon state changes in OH.
Optimize your switching in terms of PoE ports vs. power supplies for the cameras.

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You must have a monstrous Internet connection too. :wink:


All good comments thanks.

I’m running a ‘basic’ 1Gb network and my current switch 1 has 4 POE ports on it so I was going to re-purpose that one for my cameras.

As network switches are out of scope for OH, (I assumed that managed would be more likely to be supported), it means I can get whatever network set up I want and then look to integrate a different way.

I’m just trying to think in an OH / smart home integrated way for each new bit of kit I buy…

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Nah. Depending on one would be in contrast with my OH building principles.
(then again, when it was often down ~2 weeks ago, hell nevertheless broke loose because live streaming didn’t work for my family …)

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I’m not a networking freak like Markus and honestly I like my networks to be like my plumbing. They mostly just work and I rarely need to think about them, but I know enough there if something goes wrong I can handle it.

But I am a strong proponent of "use the right tool for the job. openHAB is a fantastic tool to drive your home automation. And sometimes your home automation needs to know about the status of stuff like devices and networking (e.g. send an error alert if you try to initiate an action on a device that is offline). So bindings like Network and SystemInfo and SNMP are quite useful.

But OH is really not a great tool for network and general IT type monitoring. So, IMHO, you should be looking to what a networking/IT monitoring system requires of your new switch and drive your choices based on that. Then use a tool that is much better fit for use in this role compared to openHAB. Only worry about getting this information into OH when the information is useful for your actual home automation.

As always, a very sensible answer. As it controls the ret of my home automation I’m adding OH into my thought process for new IT kit decision making and then seeing if / how / why it’s worth buying over a non OH supported option.

Maybe I shouldconsider it the other way around and get the right kit and then if OH supports it so much the better…

Hi All. i am a network tech in SA . what would the main reason be ? if security and splitting you systems like i have done. it all comes down to cost.
i run a cisco router and then i have standard Ap’s all around.that is setup with 4 ssid that is then split in different vlans that is management with the cisco. but that is for security reasons. as i dont trust no one on networks. so i have a guest ssid . low bandwidth internet access . my streaming ssid. my Home automation ssid. and then me and the misses high priority ssid. for work and streaming to our devices.

if you want more control and safety on the network then go for L2 or if you are a real network nut L3. but it all comes down to what you want to do and how much you want to spend. but then you will need to sharpen up on the correct setups on your network. as it can leave it exposed and at risk if not done correct. and YES.!!! Break it all and leave you wondering in the abyss of the L2&L3 of the network world. as a small typo can bring the whole network down. so it is up to you.
but it can be labour intensive and i am a control freak if it comes to my network. and . love to tinker and play till my network runs perfectly . but then standard equipment could have done it as well with less effort and setup.
it is my 2c worth but then that is me. LOL

If they are all using the same RF channel that is a lot of Wi-Fi beacin time eating up the limited RF bandwidth. If they are all on different channels ( requiring separate APs) then you may be restricting RF channel availability for your neighbors. In the US, for instance, there are only 3 non-overlapping 2.4GHz channels. Perhaps you should consider some low cost enterprise APs that can permit different user roles (& vlans) on the same SSID.

building up to that. as i spent a lot on the cisco. but will end up in that direction.

Aruba Networks wireless is likely cheaper :wink: Ubiquiti may suit your needs too. I believe it can interface with OH.

yes but i was doing my ccna so i used my lab stuff for the setup.

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I’m a Sys Admin and even in Enterprise environment we rely on SNMP to monitor network appliances (of course with more complex monitoring systems) but at the end it’s SNMP.

So like others have said, focus on what you want to achieve in terms of service, security, complexity, costs and efforts. On the monitor/integration side just be sure to have SNMP.
My 2.