Review: Juniper's EX 4200 switch ready for an enterprise challenge

Exclusive test shows Juniper's first enterprise box out of the gate is fast, feature-rich and highly manageable

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Juniper Networks EX 4200-48T

Juniper's enterprise switch proves itself a credible challenger

In Network World's exclusive Clear Choice test, we subjected the EX 4200-48T switch to the same rigorous battery of benchmarks we used to assess seven other vendors' 10G Ethernet access switches earlier this year. ( See comparative 10 GBE switch test .) The verdict handed down by Network World Lab Alliance David Newman is that this is one fast box. In terms of all-around performance against like switches, these results put Juniper's 4200-48T on par with similar switches from Cisco, HP and Extreme.

Summary results from recent round of switch testing

Product: Juniper EX 4200-48T

Score: 4.3 out of 5

Price as tested: $16,800*

Pros: Strong unicast and multicast throughput and latency results; long list of supported features; powerful and straightforward command-line interface.

Cons: Robustness and feature support issues for multicast; factory reset left some personally identifiable information; storm control doesn't protect against some denial-of-service attacks.

*Price for switch with at least 48 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet ports; two 10G Ethernet ports; two 10GBase-SR transceivers; and all necessary software for IPv4 unicast and multicast traffic handling.

In identical tests conducted earlier this year, results show Cisco still tops the switch charts, mainly due to its extensive feature set.

Product: Cisco Catalyst 3750E-48PD-EF Series Switch

Score: 4.49 out of 5

Price as tested: $33,980*

Pros: Very extensive feature set, strong multicast scalability and performance.

Cons: Forwarded unauthenticated data in one 802.1X case.

*Price for switch with at least 48 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet ports; two 10G Ethernet ports; two 10GBase-SR transceivers; and all necessary software for IPv4 and IPv6 unicast and multicast traffic handling

Sometimes flat lining is a good thing. That is what the Juniper switch did against the theoretical maximum (line rate) in every single one of our Layer 2 and Layer 3 throughput tests. No other switch we tested did that.

Latency was low and consistent across all tests. Measured at line rate in our Layer 2 unicast tests, the Juniper switch delayed 64-byte frames across 10G Ethernet links for an average of 1.96 microsec and a maximum of 2.01 microsec. Those are the lowest latencies we've ever recorded in an Ethernet switch. In fact, even the maximum latency of the EX 4200 is less than the lowest average result we measured in the previous round of switch tests.

David Newman

David Newman, Network World Lab Alliance

Newman, who has been involved with testing network gear for over 15 years, is president of Network Test, an independent test lab in Westlake Village, Calif. He can be reached at dnewman@networktest.com .

We want to hear from you!

Have we tested the right features of these access switches? What else should we include in future switch reviews? Do you have any questions about our results? Let us know.