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Problem with 3COM Office Connect Switches

Karsten Breivik_1
Frequent Advisor

Problem with 3COM Office Connect Switches

Me and some of my neighbours are sharing a network connection in a heterogenous environment (wxp, w2k, w98, mac, linux, printservers, wlan stations, etc). To interconnect this we have daisy chaned about 10 small switches.

Until recently I have been using 3COM 3C16793 Office Connect switches in the network. However, we soon discovered that these switches were higly unreliable. After a few weeks, all the connected ports on some of the switches started to blink very rapidly and jammed up the whole network. The problem was corrected by rebooting the switch, but the same would happen after weeks or months on all of the 3COM switches. Eventually we started replacing the switches with products from SMC. These has been runnning flawlessly for more than a year now.

I opened one of the 3COM switches just for fun, and found that the layout of the print was built for noise with powercomponents close to signal components, resistors in the 10MOhm range, etc. It saves power, but does not seem like an optimal layout to me. Guess there is a reason for using fans on Cisco swithes...

I will never use 3COM network equipment again (except for the NIC's of course), but wonder if others have had the same experiences.