Introduction

External design

Hardware

Web-interface

Testing

Summary

Introduction

Not very often our testing laboratory hosts switches. However, today is an exception because industrial switch GigaLink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I came to our lab for testing. The model in question is intended for working in the most harsh environment with the temperature from -40 to +85°С and relative degree of humidity till 90 percent. GigaLink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I switch has eight Fast Ethernet and two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, one of which is a combo port. One more peculiarity of the model in question is PoE support of IEEE 802.3af/at standards with the total power equal to 320W. Okay, let’s get started!

 

External design

Industrial switch GigaLink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I comes in black metal case with the following dimensions: 165x145x45 mm. The model under test is intended for mounting on the standard DIN-rail, for which a corresponding holder is placed on the rear panel.

The bottom panel and both sides are not remarkable, except for a sticker with the brief information about the device.

For its working GigaLink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I switch needs an external DC adapter (which isn’t included in the box) with the following parameters: 12-40V and 1A. Power connector and ground contact are placed on the upper panel of the case. The vendor recommends using of adapter with the power not less than 320W in case of connecting PoE-devices and working with low temperatures.

The front panel has eight Fast Ethernet interfaces with PoE support, LEDs indicating port condition and two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. In addition to this, LED indicating power, sunken Reset button and the model name are placed here.

Now let's have a look at the insides of the switch.

Hardware

The hardware platform of GIGALINK GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I industrial switch consists of three green textolite plates.

Configuration of the whole switch is performed with the help of one of the additional plates, on which two big chips are placed: Serial-to-Ethernet IC+ IP210W LF controller and flash card Macronix 29LV160DBTI-70G with the capacity of 2 Mbytes.

On the second plate there are two four-port PoE-injectors Microsemi PD69104B1 (under big radiators), which provide all eight user ports with power.

On the main plate there are four main silicons, two of which are hidden under radiators. Only IC+ IP108A chips are accessible for review which perform functions of Ethernet transceiver, and double-purpose module IP403 LF of the same vendor.

Web-interface

For configuring the switch via the web-interface one can use any modern browser. For access, one should enter login and password, which are equal to admin and system by default.

Upon successful authentication the user is navigated to the start page of the switch, where ports status and the list of device abilities are displayed.

Items of Administrator menu item allow changing login and password for the administrator, setting IP-address of the device, viewing and changing other parameters of the switch, removing all user settings, firmware upgrading and rebooting the testing model. We find it strange that there is no ability for saving current settings to the file and their further recovery. In all fairness, the specified settings are available in the web-interface of GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I model, but they are placed in Backup/Recovery group.

Settings of parameters for interfaces working is performed with the help of Port Configuration item of Port Management menu group.

Port Mirroring menu item of the same group allows an administrator to create SPAN-sessions for mirroring the user traffic.

One can limit transmission speed of the user traffic with the help of Bandwidth Control item. We cannot consider this implementation intuitively clear.

To prevent broadcast storms the administrator has to go to Broadcast Storm Control item.

Industrial switch GigaLink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I supports one of two modes of working with virtual networks: Port Based and Tag Based, switching between which is performed with the help of VLAN mode item of the VLAN Settings menu group. It’s worth noting that switching of the modes leads to removing of the user virtual networks configured before.

Belonging of the transmitted user data to a particular virtual network is configured with the help of VLAN member item of the same group. We should confess that setting of the virtual networks on the switch in this particular way causes bewilderment, putting it mildly.

Sometimes in modern networks one has a necessity to configure the equipment the way that provides access to a particular host or resource from different virtual networks. Corresponding setting is available in Multi to 1 Setting menu item of the same group.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t discover description of this function in the user manual, but assume that with the help of Non-Association Port Setting page the administrator can isolate particular ports from each other inside one virtual network.

Per Port Counter group contains the only item Port Counter that displays statistics on using ports of GigaLink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I switch.

Quality of service management is performed with the use of items of QoS Setting group.

Security parameters are presented in Security group. Here the administrator can manually bind MAC-addresses to the switch ports, view current bridge (MAC) table, set filtering by ports of TCP/UDP and specify interfaces from which access to the web-interface of the device is allowed. As we mentioned before, we consider the web-interface in this group not very user-friendly, putting it mildly. So, for example, the administrator doesn’t have an ability to easily find to which physical port a device with a particular MAC-address is connected; access to the control interface is usually bound to a particular virtual network and isn’t restricted by physical ports…

All parameters of STP (Spanning Tree Protocol) working are gathered in the Spanning Tree group. Here the administrator can select mode of STP functioning, set switch priority, configure timers for the protocol working.

GigaLink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I switch has an ability of aggregating physical ports to one logical with the use of IEEE 802.3ad technology. The corresponding setting is available in the only item Link Aggregation Settings of the Trunking group. In the current firmware version one can aggregate only the ninth and tenth ports. We hope that in the next firmware versions this restriction will be removed. Aggregating is available in static mode as well as with the use of LACP protocol, which settings are also presented here. The only thing that confused us is name of the option: Link Aggregation Algorithm. From our point of view, it would be more logical to name it Load-Balancing Method or something like this. Also name of the group itself confuses us a little bit, we think that it would be more appropriate to name it LAG.

Items of DHCP Relay Agent menu group allow the administrator to configure the DHCP repeater built-in the switch.

Additional settings are presented in Miscellaneous group that doesn’t have sub-items.

Configuring connecting to the switch via SNMP protocol is performed with the help of SNMP Settings group that doesn’t have sub-items.

That’s where we proceed to completion the review of the web-interface features of the GigaLink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I switch and pass directly on to testing, because the command line is not intended for being used by network administrators.

Testing

We decided to start this section from a security scanning procedure of the switch control module. To perform this testing we use Positive Technologies XSpider security scanner. There were five open ports discovered. The most interesting data of this test are presented below.

 

It’s worth noting that during security testing the switch rebooted several times, so we recommend specially taking care about restricting access to the control plane of the device during network design and exploiting. Naturally we informed the vendor about this problem but to our surprise we didn’t get the assurance that it would be fixed.

The next test was measuring of the switching delay. This was performed for the frames of different length with different values of the switch interfaces utilization. The diagrams for forwarding frames between the interfaces GE-GE, FE-FE and GE-FE are shown below.

As one can notice from the diagrams presented above, increase of the interface utilization doesn’t lead to the significant growth of the latency, but size of the frame, obviously, directly influences the switching delay.

During performing testing we discovered one more peculiarity of Gigalink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I switch working: during increase of the Gigabit Ethernet interfaces utilization loss of the frames occurs, probably, interface controllers or switching fabric can’t manage to control it, so the switch is not non-blocking. During traffic forwarding between other interfaces the specified effect doesn’t occur.

Testing of the delay and packet loss was performed with the help of hardware traffic generator IXIA. That’s where we proceed to completion testing section and pass directly to summing it all up.

Summary

After testing Gigalink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I industrial switch we had mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is a compact configuring switch with all necessary base functionality and intended for working in the most extreme conditions such as the temperature from -40 to +85°С and relative degree of humidity from 5 till 90 percent. But, on the other hand, we cannot stop feeling some incompleteness. The series of industrial switches of Gigalink product range appeared relatively recently, so we hope that in the nearest future the vendor will fix all remaining drawbacks.

The strength areas of GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I switch are listed below.

  • Availability of configuring via the web-interface
  • Compact dimensions
  • PoE support
  • Industrial design
  • Availability of mounting on the DIN-rail
  • Reasonable price.

Unfortunately, we cannot help but mention discovered drawbacks.

  • Not the most convenient and intuitive web-interface
  • Absence of actual user manuals
  • Instability of the control plane against network attacks
  • Blocking switch fabric.

When this review was being written, Gigalink GL-SW-F101-08PSG-I switch price in Moscow online shops was 38500 rubles.

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