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Brocade ICX Series (cheap & powerful 10gbE/40gbE switching)

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Xoid

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
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So looking for some input and advice. A request for comment, if you will.

I've in the midst of upgrading my home network, mostly to get as much of it off wifi as possible.
While figuring out how I want to set it up for myself, it occurs to me that in the event I sell up, I'll need to strip out a pile of the configuration so that future owners can still use the wired network with their own gear.

What I have that I plan to be a "fixture", that is, remains here as part of the apartment
I think your ambitions are noble, but it's probably not worth the effort. It won't really be a selling point, if anything it will be probably be a headache for the new owner. Most people are content with their ISP router/modem and a dumb switch. The only selling point is the wiring. But that's just a nice-to-have, it won't really affect the sale price in reality.

If I were you I would just configure everything to work the best for your situation and rip it out when you sell.

Same with the IoT stuff. Set it up the way you want, and just leave the dumb controls for the next person. They can adopt it to their own smart home system if they want. I wouldn't want to be responsible for supporting any of it when I sell the property.
 

tubs-ffm

Active Member
Sep 1, 2013
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  • ICX 7150-24: The switch for my office, racked with my Server and connecting my 3 Desktop computers (plus providing a easy point for me to connect new devices near a screen for configuration/testing before moving them to a more permanent home). In event of a move, I might swap this with a ICX 7150-C12P
Here I would go with ICX 7150-24P in fanless mode or with your optional ICX 7150-C12P to get PoE. You wrote that you want to use AP at this switch and you want to test and configure devices. You want to get PoE here, I believe. My personal opinion, don't go with a fan powered device next to your desk.

  • Two short range 2.4GHz APs powered by POE (models not yet decided): The interference is so bad here, that small wifi devices, like those usually used in IoT devices like my ceiling fans and energy monitor, are not powerful enough to get their signal back through to the main AP. By putting them each back into their setup mode where they broadcast their own network, I was able to map out that there is no one spot in the apartment they can all reach, but there are 2 spots that would cover all of them, so I'm putting a small AP in each spot. These will be on their "own" network, not connected to the internet. Planning for them to be managed together through some sort of controller software so there is one place to manage them both. Likely Unifi for now, as HomeAssistant can be that controller.
Here I cannot follow. But for me it is hard to imagine where "one network" (SSID) that is span via multiples AP across the whole location. These can be connected wired to your switches in the best case wherever is possible or connected wireless by mash. Multiple networks with multiple SSID and VLAN are possible for sure.

As your are using 100% Ruckus switches I would recommend Ruckus AP with Ruckus unleashed. Ruckus unleashed gives you the possibility to manage all AP via a web interface. No controller required, one AP is the controller and all other could be fall back. If you WiFi 5 fulfills your needs, go with Ruckus R710, R610 or R320 depending on the power you need. If you need WiFi 6 go with an R750, R650 or R350. Ruckus unleashed even gives the possibility to integrate all your ICX switches for monitor purposes. In such a centrally managed network that is span across the complete location you have the plausibility to provide certain SSID only at certain APs. The bigger enterprise APs mange their power level in such a network to get best overlapping situation.

I cannot imagine a use case as you described where separate AP with separate SSID gives any benefit. Maybe there are.

Along with the Optics I'm putting in the wall, I'm pulling Cat6 along to all the same places, which I'll be using as either a management network or backup lines in case a SFP module fails, but new owners could just use as their networking if they didn't want to use the SFP capable switches.
Optics is a good way to connect infrastructure devices. I do not know how much effort it is in your case for puling all the cables. Today 10 GBit is fine. Think about if it is worth to spend a little bit more for the cables to be 100 GBit ready.
 
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TonyArrr

Active Member
Sep 22, 2021
136
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Straylia
I think your ambitions are noble, but it's probably not worth the effort. It won't really be a selling point, if anything it will be probably be a headache for the new owner. Most people are content with their ISP router/modem and a dumb switch. The only selling point is the wiring. But that's just a nice-to-have, it won't really affect the sale price in reality.

If I were you I would just configure everything to work the best for your situation and rip it out when you sell.

Same with the IoT stuff. Set it up the way you want, and just leave the dumb controls for the next person. They can adopt it to their own smart home system if they want. I wouldn't want to be responsible for supporting any of it when I sell the property.
I didn’t mean selling point like to make more money off it, more like a item to help pad the feature list. Maybe get a “oooohhhh, aaaahhhhhh”.

Kind of the point I’m looking for is so it’s not a headache for future owners to use. Kind of thinking along the lines of leaving it in a state where they can plug the WAN line into their ISP provided router/modem, and the loose end of a LAN-labelled cable going to the switch, and then have all the wired end points just work for whatever they plug in.

But all in all, I know it wouldn’t be something to do in terms of getting the effort’s worth from a future owner (I have precisely zero plans of moving), but I felt like having that sort of configuration would make good learning experience for myself, giving me an opportunity to do things other than the exact configuration I use for my networking needs. So I guess the payback for the effort would be in the doing it and having it work ^_^

And there’s not much to worry about having to support them for the home automation side. You don’t really meet the original owners when buying and sellinghomes over here, so they aren’t gonna be able to call up and ask for help. Plan is to leave a list of usernames and passwords, a QR code to HomeAssistant’s documentation, and a USB with a backup of the configuration as basic fallback in case of breaking it. Leave the Google Assistant and Homekit inclusions running and they can sort the rest out if they want it.

But yes, I am going to configure it all exactly right for me, just want a fallback config I could leave for the bits I leave here. Like I said, I don’t actually plan to move in the future, but if I ever reached the point I was financial enough to afford it, I’d wanna kit out with a core switch that could push 10Gbe to everything, not just 4-8 things :p hopefully the more recent 7xxx series would be affordable on eBay by then haha
 

TonyArrr

Active Member
Sep 22, 2021
136
69
28
Straylia
My personal opinion, don't go with a fan powered device next to your desk.
Can I get an amen!
The non-poe was a cool 800 bucks less than the poe models I had seen over the previous 2ish months before I bought. Thankfully, no shortage of power points there, and the circuit is overprovisioned at the switchboard so I’ll survive the lack of power

Here I cannot follow. But for me it is hard to imagine where "one network" (SSID) that is span via multiples AP across the whole location. These can be connected wired to your switches in the best case wherever is possible or connected wireless by mash. Multiple networks with multiple SSID and VLAN are possible for sure.
So it’s not an issue of getting the IoT devices to see my wifi network, it’s an issue of them being able to transmit back to the AP. Most of them are little ESP devices, so when they try to transmit information to the wifi network, they often time out, with the AP never receiving the message. I’ve put it down to interference from all the wifi networks from other apartments. When I use Netspot, there’s a minimum of three independent networks for every channel, and when I look for the captive network a bare ESP32 is broadcasting as a test, it stops being visible when moved about 4 meters from the desktop running netspot.

I did the same test at my folks, with the same desktop and ESP, and it had good signal strength to about 30 meters (then it dropped below -80 RSSI). They are in a detached house, and you can only faintly detect one other network from a neighbour.

With some playing around with a really long Ethernet cable and a travel Wifi AP, I found a spot at each end of the apartment where the wifi IoT devices would connect and stay connected while the AP was there, so while we run the cables in the roof and walls, I figured I’d put a AP in each spot and power them over twisted pair.

As your are using 100% Ruckus switches I would recommend Ruckus AP with Ruckus unleashed. Ruckus unleashed gives you the possibility to manage all AP via a web interface. No controller required, one AP is the controller and all other could be fall back. If you WiFi 5 fulfills your needs, go with Ruckus R710, R610 or R320 depending on the power you need. If you need WiFi 6 go with an R750, R650 or R350. Ruckus unleashed even gives the possibility to integrate all your ICX switches for monitor purposes. In such a centrally managed network that is span across the complete location you have the plausibility to provide certain SSID only at certain APs. The bigger enterprise APs mange their power level in such a network to get best overlapping situation.
Ruckus Unleashed, ay… I will definitely look at that.
Honestly, the tablet and phone are basically for messaging and web browsing, and I don’t really consume video off the net a la YouTube, social media, so I don’t even really need high bandwidth wifi for them. Everything that I need lots of bandwidth for is connected by copper Ethernet at the moment, the upgrade is moving all that into the walls instead of along skirting boards.

I cannot imagine a use case as you described where separate AP with separate SSID gives any benefit. Maybe there are.
Yeah, it’s a pickle, hey? The multiple APs are to have APs in range so that the low powered devices can reach them, and it doesn’t matter how powerful a single AP I can get, it won’t make the signal coming back from the devices stronger, and it can’t clean up the interference from all the other networks that drowns them out.
If I could, I’d spend a week going around the apartments, help everyone tune their wifi routers TX levels and channel choices to work more harmoniously, I really would! But apparently that would be “weird” and “off putting”. And I’d have to spend some time doing it to every new person’s router too ;)

I probably could use the two APs for my main network too, have it on the 5ghz and VLAN off the 2.4Ghz, since all my “client” devices that use wifi are happy enough on 5Ghz, however I don’t know how far apart they need to be to support roaming connections. Still could be worth doing.

Optics is a good way to connect infrastructure devices. I do not know how much effort it is in your case for puling all the cables. Today 10 GBit is fine. Think about if it is worth to spend a little bit more for the cables to be 100 GBit ready.
Yeah, we’re cutting open most of the walls and roof to remove a failed aircon unit, it’s drain pipe and coolant pipes, and installing its (more powerful) replacement in a different part of the unit that will let it reach the bedrooms and kitchen better. When I worked out everything we’re opening for that, I realised that I could network everything and only open 3 more spots, so why not?

And getting in there is such a nightmare as it is, I figured putting in optics means there will never be a reason to open the walls again. I’m gonna try and push flexible conduit just in case, but not sure how that’s gonna turn out.
Pretty sure the optics will be OM5, since it has more multiplexing possible, so highest possible bandwidth, and it really doesn’t cost any different to OM4 anyway, not at the lengths I’d be getting :)
I did consider OS2 since it nearly has a limitless ceiling, but even the short range transceivers get well pricey, well fast!

Thanks for the viewpoints, it does really help just to see what questions come to mind for others looking at it all!
 

kpfleming

Active Member
Dec 28, 2021
396
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43
Pelham NY USA
Thanks for the viewpoints, it does really help just to see what questions come to mind for others looking at it all!
Just another thing to consider... here in the US for some time a major homebuilder (Lennar) was pre-installing 7150-C12Ps and a single Ruckus AP in many of the homes they sold, to 'make things easier' for homebuyers.

The Ruckus forums are full of posts from people who have no idea what to do with this stuff, especially when it doesn't continue working in bare-bones single-VLAN-single-SSID mode, and I suspect that for a while the reason that -C12Ps were so cheap on eBay is because they were being pulled out of these houses.

I'll echo the comments from another reply: ensure that the cabling is easily usable should the next homeowner want to use it, and ensure that any home controls are usable without the automation tooling that you use, and that's sufficient. If, and only if, you get an interested buyer who indicates that they'd like to purchase the networking equipment as-installed, then offer it to them (same as a buyer paying for 'optional' appliances already installed in the house).
 
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Offspring

New Member
Feb 7, 2021
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I bought an ICX6450-48p a couple years back, and never got around to updating/flashing the firmware, which I finally did last weekend. Everything seemed to be going great, except I'm seeing severe limits on the transfer speeds, both across the internet and locally, capping out at 100Mbit/sec even though I'm either running gigabit or 10Gbit.

I've tried swapping the cables, and I've changed ports but if I try to use the ICX6450, I'm being severely limited and I don't see anything in the config that might be causing that, so I'm hoping someone else might have seen something similar and knows what the cause is, so I can go about unlocking the full gigabit/10Gb speeds.

Thanks.
 

tubs-ffm

Active Member
Sep 1, 2013
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I've tried swapping the cables, and I've changed ports but if I try to use the ICX6450, I'm being severely limited and I don't see anything in the config that might be causing that, so I'm hoping someone else might have seen something similar and knows what the cause is, so I can go about unlocking the full gigabit/10Gb speeds.
What is limiting your switch to 100 Mbit I do not know. But did you unlocked the licence to get 10 GBit capability?
ICX6450 Licensing - Fohdeesha Docs
 

NablaSquaredG

Layer 1 Magician
Aug 17, 2020
1,377
836
113
Question Re 7450:
As mentioned some pages earlier, I've got a broken 7450-48 where SPI write error occur

uboot reports them as mx25l6405d, I've looked on the board and could find two 25l6433f marked with colours near the two BCM56548

any idea whether those are the SPI flashes, or do I need to look somewhere else?
 

papageek

New Member
Feb 17, 2023
2
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1
correct, two are breakout only and cannot be connected to a 40gbE NIC at 40gbE
Do you happen to know if I could do a normal qsfp+ 40 to 40 dac between the Brocade breakout port and a Chelsio t580 in spider mode, or would I need something like passive breakout optics on each end with couplers? I would then setup lacp or similar on the ports at both ends. I need4 hosts connected at 40 and trying to avoid using my painfully loud 6650.

Thank you in advance for any feedback!
 

papageek

New Member
Feb 17, 2023
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Hehe, already been through it all with the 6610 a couple years ago - it needs to see an i2c bus with two devices (per psu) on it for the psu's - the psu itself, and an EEPROM

For the psu device address it needs to see 9 or 10 different sensors/registers for things like rail voltages, temps, fan speed etc. There's also some SMbus handshaking going on when it first powers on - which I did manage to capture years back with a logic analyzer, not sure if I still have it. For the EEPROM device address it needs to see a 16kbit EEPROM populated with valid data (psu model id, serial, vendor and revision)

I have dumps of most of these I can paste when I'm not on mobile, but as I've said before it's *really* not worth it. I've been down this road several times before with this switch and it is a hilarious amount of work and ghetto-rigging all to save 2 to 3 watts and maybe 5db at best off of an already quite efficient switch
I was wondering about this. Would it be possible to use an arduino to spoof connected fans? Just physically remove the fans and connect the new board up? Idea being make a small cabnet, remove switch cover and put some quiet noctua fans directly on components and exhaust the cabnet with a quiet 1500 cfm hvac whole house fan with only intake switch front face?
 

jimmy1987

New Member
Apr 16, 2019
3
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Do you happen to know if I could do a normal qsfp+ 40 to 40 dac between the Brocade breakout port and a Chelsio t580 in spider mode, or would I need something like passive breakout optics on each end with couplers? I would then setup lacp or similar on the ports at both ends. I need4 hosts connected at 40 and trying to avoid using my painfully loud 6650.

Thank you in advance for any feedback!
They are really breakout ports so a default 1x 40g cable is not going to work.
 
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Shad

New Member
Oct 15, 2022
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Hi folks

Firstly - big thank you to everyone contributing here. I've made use of the guides and info and am running a pair of ICX6450-48 switches in a stack and it's been working great for a couple of years now.

What I'd like to do next is replace one of the switches with the PoE version, ICX6540-48P. The documentation and video guides say that as long as the replacement stack member is the same model and has been erased, it will be adopted and the config applied. "It just works".

Does anybody know if that is also the case when replacing non-PoE with PoE version of otherwise the exact same model?
 

nextrack68

New Member
Jul 26, 2022
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I have a simple VLAN setup question.

I have successfully setup VLANs for multiple WAP using the dual mode and can broadcast multiple SSIDs while using pfSense to do the routing.

Now I'm trying to get my wired stuff lined out. Basically all I need to do is set ports 20-29 to VLAN 30. I have the VLAN setup in pfSense and configured in my 6450P just like my other VLANs but cannot make it work. I do not understand why I can't figure it out. Thank you
 

dswartz

Active Member
Jul 14, 2011
610
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@dswartz As you might be aware Ruckus does not recommend this new 09.* firmware for anything that I know of yet. Certainly not the 7150 or the 7250. Had major bugs earlier and still proving itself over time. If you are leery, 08.0.95 is a good choice. The config file format has slightly changed for some things with 09.* and downgrading can be an issue for some.

Have you tried to reload the 7150 and see if the problem recurs or whether it was a one-time post-install bootup issue?
Well, that was NOT fun. We live in a semi-rural area. Lots of power glitches and tree limbs taking out power lines. I'd say we get 1+ hour outages once or twice a year. Long enough the UPS can't keep the switch&etc up. 08.0.92bT211 was the good release I was running. Power comes back, but no ports lit on the 7150. Console cable in and see 'OS>' prompt. Scroll back a bit and see error messages about missing directories and python3. Bizarrely primary AND secondary seemed borked. I admit not knowing the internals, but I would have thought the 2 flash partitions wouldn't be both vulnerable like this? Due to the way I set things up, it was hard to recover this. The 7150 had a 2-port LAG to the stacked switches, so of course that was down, so the tftp VM was inaccessible, and I didn't have tftp server on my windows 10 desktop. After many trials and tribulations, I managed to boot the 7150 from the old FW version, and once that was up, copy the old FW to BOTH flash partitions, reboot again, and re-enter the LAG info and I was back. Very strange indeed.
 

tubs-ffm

Active Member
Sep 1, 2013
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Yes, much to my embarassment. This is not my first rodeo, but I ****ed up. After 1 week of okay, I thought 'ok, I can upgrade the secondary!' What can I say? Duh...
Is my understanding correct? You could manage to re-flash the primary partition but you cannot re-flash the secondary?
Just delete the secondary flash and it will copy from primary automatically after reboot. Takes some minutes.
Code:
enable
erase flash secondary
reload