In the quest of upgrading the current home lab the choice went for 2 TPlink managed switches. In particular for the TPlink install of the T2600G-18TS model. A good balance between price and rich features these managed switches support. In all honesty probably the only feature missing (and nice to have even for a home lab) is the full support for PVLAN (Private VLAN). Standard VLAN are fully supported. Both standard and PVLAN are supported in the higher models with 28 Ports (24 Gigabit + 4 SFP) and more. Not a big deal considering standard VLAN allow up to 4094 different IDs. And firewall rules on a router can definitely help. That should be plenty for a home lab too!
Depending on the time of purchase and hardware version the TPlink install can present 2 different web user interfaces. These are based on the firmware version. The one in this article refers to the previous firmware version 1.0. This is also the one shipping with hardware v1 version. As of July 2019 there is a new firmware version “v2” which can be installed also on existing v1 hardware based T2600G-18TS. The firmware upgrade process is covered on the next article.
The following is a quick overview for the first time TPlink install. The rest of the articles will cover the following:
- TPLink firmware upgrade
- Assign IP address
- Console connection
- How to setup VLANs
TPlink install overview
By default the TPlink install process is straight forward and can be accomplished by using both a web based GUI and with CLI command line as well. The TPlink T2600G-18TS is equipped with 2 console ports. One using a USB connection, the other with standard RJ45 through RS232. By default the TPlink install or reset bring the default network configuration back to http://192.168.0.1. So this would be the address to use and reach the web GUI. Default username and password is admin.
From the System > System Info the main TPlink switch details. This includes the firmware version. Useful to compare with latest version available and run the upgrade. The latest v2 firmware applies to the “v1” hardware as well.
In the device description the option to customize the device name, location and system contact. Useful when retrieving this info for other network components in the infrastructure.
The System Time section allows to setup the NTP (Network Protocol Time) very useful and lots of time forgotten among other configurations. The last option “Synchronize with PC Clock” works pretty good and the change is effective immediately. For some reason the automatic configuration specifying the NTP servers didn’t work at the first attempt.
Very useful also the option to specify the DST (Daylight Saving Time) with the option to manually or automatically adjust time.
The TPLink T2600G-18TS provides console access via a RS232 cable – RJ45. The settings below represent the default configuration. Via Putty it is possible to use the COM port over USB connection. More details on this type on a separate article.
In the Use Management section it is possible to create new users and assign specific permissions:
Admin: can edit, modify and view all the settings of different functions.
Operator: can edit, modify and view most of the settings of different functions.
Power User: can edit, modify and view some of the settings of different functions.
User: can only view the settings without the right to edit or modify.
From the System Tools section all the handy options to save, restore and upgrade the switch configuration. It is a good idea to save the working configurations in a separate location. In case of reconfiguration would be just a matter to upload the file from the backup and bring this back to a working state. Interesting enough also the ability to schedule reboot tasks either on fixed times or amount of time.
The Access Control section allows to determine access type for users based on IP Address, MAC Address and even Port.
An interesting feature is the SDM Template (Switch Database Management) which allows to prioritize switch resources for certain features. By default the TPLink T2600G-18TS ships with 3 templates showing different options and the ability to change.
From a “Layer 3” perspective this is where things are getting more interesting and the ability to assign a custom IP address to the TPLink switch. This can be any combination of VLAN ID and a static or manual IP Address depending on the chosen method.
To change the IP Address to the desired one is just a matter of specifying the desired one on pertinent field and make sure the computer accessing the switch is on the same network. The change is immediate right after applying the new configuration.
Last but not least the option to add static routes (in case there are non-routable networks in the environment).
It’s a good idea to backup the switch configuration into a file and save it somewhere safe as a day 1 configuration with basic options.