Cisco Switches vs. Dell Switches

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As we all knew, Cisco is the best brand of Networking devices. It provides a large scale of switches to meet various customers’ needs. For Dell, you may say “I only know that they have servers and storages”! However, Dell also provide us some switches, like N series and S series.

You may also say, “ Cisco switch is the better, and we don’t need to compare it with Dell switch.”

If you have no trouble of budget, you can buy Cisco switches as more as you like. But, in fact, we are always confused by our limited budget.


Let me introduce.

How many series of Cisco and Dell switches?

Cisco switches family is very big. There are various series, like Catalyst series, Nexus series, IE series, SMB series and Meraki series. In the meantime, each series provides many sub-series. Just take Catalyst 2960 family for example. To meet more needs, Cisco Catalyst 2960 provides 2960X, 2960XR, 2960L, 2960C and those eos-and-eol 2960 plus, 2960, etc. No matter what scale of your business, you can find the suitable switch in Cisco 2960 switches.

However, Dell doesn’t provide so many series. The popular series is S series and N series. The S series provides Dell EMC PowerSwitch S-Series 10GbE Switches, Dell EMC PowerSwitch S-Series 1GbE Switches and Dell EMC PowerSwitch S-Series 25-100GbE Switches. The N series includes

Dell EMC PowerSwitch N1100 Series, Dell EMC PowerSwitch N1500 Series, Dell EMC PowerSwitch N2000 Series, Dell EMC PowerSwitch N3000 Series and Dell EMC PowerSwitch N4000 Series.

You can check the switches comparison from these tables below.

Cisco Dell
Catalyst 3850 N3132PX
Catalyst 2960X N3000
Catalyst 2960L N1500
SMB SG550X N2000
SMB SG350 N1500
SMB SG220 X1000

dell switch n s x series

Multigigabit Switch w/ 40Gbps Uplink

Features Cisco Catalyst 3850 Dell N3132PX-ON
Number of Ports 24/48, 40GE Uplink 24 + 8 2.5/5 GbE w/4 SFP+
Speed GE/10GE, 40GE Uplink, mGig GE/10GE, 40GE Uplink, 2.5/5 GbE
PoE PoE, PoE+, UPoE PoE, PoE+, UPoE
Stacking 480 Gbps 84 Gbps
L2 or L3 L3, Dynamic, MPLS L3, Dynamic
Flexible NetFlow Yes No
WLC Controller Yes No

GE Switch w/ Premium Security Feature

Features Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Dell N3000
Number of Ports 24/48 w/4 SFP or 2 SFP+ 24 / 48 w/ 2 SFP+
Speed GE / 10GE Uplink GE / 10GE Uplink
PoE PoE, PoE+ PoE, PoE+
Stacking Yes, 80Gbps Yes, 84 Gbps
L2 or L3 L3 – Static L3
Flexible NetFlow Yes No
uRPF Yes No

GE Switch w/Cisco Catalyst Software

Features Cisco Catalyst 2960-L Dell N1500
Number of Ports 8/16/24/48 w/ 2 or 4 SFP 24/48 w/ 2 SFP+
Speed GE GE
PoE PoE, PoE+, Persistent PoE PoE, PoE+
Stacking No Yes, 40Gbps
L2 or L3 L2 L3, Static or RIP
Fanless Yes No
OS Cisco IOS SW /

Small Business Enhanced L3 GE Switch

Features Cisco SG550X Dell N2000
Number of Ports 24/48 w/ 4 10GE 24/48 w/ 2 SFP+
Speed GE / 10GE Uplink GE, 10GE Uplink
PoE PoE, PoE+ PoE, PoE+
Stacking Yes, Up to 8 Yes, Up to 12
L2 or L3 L3 – Dyn, IPv6 Routing L3 – Static, RIP
SDN Controller Yes (FindIT) Cloud-based
Warranty LLW w/ NBD LW

Small Business Basic L3 GE Switch

Features Cisco SG350 Dell N1500
Number of Ports 8/24/48 w/ 2 GE/SFP Combo 24/48 w/ 4 SFP+
Speed GE GE, 10GE Uplink
PoE PoE, PoE+ PoE, PoE+
Stacking No Yes, 40Gbps
L2 or L3 L3 – Static L3, Static or RIP
DHCP Server Yes No
Warranty LLW w/ NBD LW

Small Business L2 GE Switch

Features Cisco SG220 Dell X1000
Number of Ports 24/48 w/ 2 GE/SFP Combo 8/16/24 w/ 2 SFP
Speed GE GE
PoE PoE, PoE+ 8/16/24 Port
Stacking No No
L2 or L3 L2 L3, Static
SDN Controller Yes (FindIT) No
Warranty LLW LLW

How about their Technology Support Services?

The CCIE is the most famous of Cisco that provide technology support for customers. If you have bought the highest level of tech support, you can get the 24/7/365 services. It means, you can be on the phone with true support CCIE within the first hour.

Although Dell also says they provide tech support services, buy the support may be not quick and good.

How about the functions of Cisco and Dell switches?

For campus, Cisco provides Catalyst switches and Dell provide S and N series. Cisco Catalyst switches have many series and all of them are very good. However, Dell N series have some problems at some basic functions, like stacking, L3 routing, etc.

Can we use all the functions when we got the switches?

Although Dell N series is not good to use, but Dell S series is better. The S series is from Force10, the company that Dell bought their S series switches. Force10 developed a very stable and reliable full featured open OS.

It’s an important information that Dell doesn’t license features on their switches. So, unlike Cisco, when you get a Dell switch you own all the switching and routing features out-of-the box.

Now, you know why I should tell you consider the budget. If you have much money, you can buy Cisco switches and ready to buy many licenses in order to get more functions. If you don’t have enough budget, you can choose Dell S switches.

Learn More:

Competitive Switching Comparison: Cisco vs. HPE/Aruba vs. Huawei vs. Dell vs. Netgear vs. Dlink vs. Meraki


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