A versatile, yet competitively priced 2.5GbE managed switch that is an ideal choice to support a high-performance but power-hungry PoE focused network, as well as surveillance equipment.
16x 2.5GbE Ports
4 x 10G SFP+ Ports
Four PoE++ ports
Noisy at times
400W max PoE
Inefficient fan setup
Why you can trust TechRadar
The VigorSwitch PQ2200xb is a new managed switch from Draytek, and is perfect for businesses who are upgrading an existing network, or rolling out a new one. Key is the ability to supply up to 400W via PoE, which makes it an ideal backbone for cameras, VoIP phones, Wi-Fi access points, and more. The switch also includes a range of surveillance focused features that ensure it is well suited to supporting security cameras.
While the ethernet ports are 2.5GbE, it also has four SFP+ ports for high speed links, and offers up to 160 Gbps of overall switching capacity. Importantly, the PQ2200xb can be configured directly using its web interface, controlled with a DrayTek router, or managed through seperate software, such as Draytek’s own VigorACS 3.
The switch isn’t perfect, so read on as we put it to the test, and find out if it could suit your business. As always with Draytek products, you can try before you buy and test the interface and features yourself, thanks to a handy online demo.
Price and availability
The VigorSwitch PQ2200xb will set you back $659 / £550 / AU$1,200, which is quite inexpensive considering what's on offer. While there is some competition from other brands, few offer the same features for a comparable price. The PQ2200xb is easy to find for sale in Australia, but for other locations, if the switch is not stocked by your normal retailers, it may be necessary to reach out to your country's DrayTek office to find where it can be purchased.
Design and specifications
The PQ2200xb is a rack mount switch, measuring in at 440mm x 281.3mm x 44mm, and with a weight of 4.3kg. Around the back it has an IEC power port, while the dual 40mm variable speed fans are side mounted, with a vent on the other side. In the box you get a rack mount kit, RJ-45 console cord, power cord, rubber feet and quick start guide. The switch will run from 100V through to 240V, and is rated for a maximum power consumption of 550 watts.
Ports: 16 x 2.5GbE, 4 x SFP+, 1 x RJ-45 console
Switching Capacity: 160Gbps
PoE: 12 x PoE+ (30W), 4 x PoE++ (90W), 400W total
Management: TR-069 compatible
Power Use: 100V – 240V, 6A (550W)
Dimensions: 440(W) x 281.5(D) x 44(H) mm
Warranty: 2 year back to base
The PQ2200xb has a total of 21 ports on the front – 16 x 2.5Gbps Ethernet connections, four 10G SPF+ slots, and an RJ-45 console connection port. This combination provides a versatile overall mix of connection options that will suit many small to medium businesses. The 2.5GbE ports provide high network speeds that can cater for fast access, or moving a lot of data around, without the cost of stepping up to a 10Gbps network. The four SFP+ ports give the flexibility to create very high speed links, such as between switches, or to network attached data storage or servers. Overall this combination of ports allows the creation of a robust, high performance network, without excessively high upfront costs.
A key feature of the PQ2200xb is Power Over Ethernet, and the switch can supply up to 400W total over the 16 ethernet ports. Critically, four of these ports are PoE++, which means that they can supply up to 90W per port. This is enough for power hungry equipment, ranging from point of sale computers and laptops, to TVs and other large displays, video conferencing systems, or even building management systems such as gate or door controllers. The other 12 ethernet ports are PoE+, providing up to 30W and are well suited to running a range of typical devices, such as cameras, Wi-Fi APs, lighting and so on. The inclusion of four PoE++ is a great design choice, as it enables a range of higher power networking options to be run without installing a separate connection for electricity. One downside is the choice to only provide 400W total, as if all four PoE++ ports have higher power devices connected, there is little leftover for the 12 PoE+ connections. We would have preferred to see a minimum of 500W overall for this setup, to give enough headroom to at least get 10W to each PoE+ port, while still being able to push the PoE++ to the full 90W.
The PQ2200xb is well suited to surveillance needs, and can detect ONVIF capable devices and place them into individual VLANs, as well as allow direct image viewing and setting management through the switch interface. It can also monitor cameras (and other devices), give alerts if a camera stops responding, and cycle the power to try and restore it.
The PQ2200xb has the full range of features you’d expect from a managed switch (and too many to list them all here), including QoS controls, network conflict detection, network management and monitoring, port aggregation, IPv6 support, enterprise level security and more. The switch can handle 256 VLANs, works with a RADIUS or TACAS+ authentication server, has a 160Gbps switching capacity, and supports a 16k MAC address table. As we have come to expect from DrayTek, there are plenty of resources available online for the PQ2200xb. These range from the quick start guide, to the online demo mentioned earlier, firmware updates, the comprehensive 349 page manual, and an expansive general knowledge base.
The PQ2200xb can be configured via a web browser, and the interface is straightforward and easy to use, despite the impressive depth of features. We tested the PQ2200xb with a range of other DrayTek devices, including Vigor routers and wireless access points. We also included an assortment of other devices on the network, from computers, servers, NAS and PoE security cameras.
Overall the PQ2200xb handled itself very well, and we had no problems testing all of the advertised functionality. Compared to lesser switches, the higher end features made network setup and management feel easy. For surveillance management, options such as the ability to ping network devices, and automatically power cycle them if using PoE, proved reliable, and an invaluable tool.
Maximum power usage of the PQ2200xb will depend on how many PoE devices are connected (and max input is 550W), but power draw starts from 20W at idle. Under little load the switch is silent, but once running, the dual 40mm fans are not especially quiet, and the switch is not shy about running them. The switch should live in a clean environment, but if the fans ever need to be changed, access is easy thanks to the removable cover.
The innards of the PQ2200xb are well laid out, with clean airflow and plenty of heatsinks. The fans used are quality SUNON dual ball bearing models, measuring in at 40mm x 20mm, and rated for 70,000 hours of use. The fans don’t feature PWM control, so are either on or off, which contributes to the noise. The fans are configured to blow air out of the switch, but the outer shell has a too small 37mm hole, which creates significant airflow obstruction. Despite this, the fans are more than powerful enough to ensure heat is not a problem, but is less efficient than it could be. The switch also has the space (and deleted fan plugs) for two more fans, so a lower speed, triple or quad fan option would have been preferable.
The PQ2200xb can be managed directly via its own interface (which is excellent), but can also be handled via a Vigor router, using DrayTek’s Central Switch Management. While this option works fine, the PQ2200xb supports TR-069 management for more comprehensive options. The free TR-069 based VigorConnect local network management software from DrayTek is quite good, and more than enough for simpler networks or smaller businesses.
DrayTek also has VigorACS – a paid network management option that has a wealth of features. It’s specifically designed to give the best possible support for all compatible DrayTek hardware. The software requires an annual subscription, and the price will depend on the number of network devices you want to be able to control.
VigorACS 3 is aimed at larger businesses that might have multiple switches, and a large number of other devices, and in our experience, doesn’t offer as much value for smaller networks. A key use for VigorACS 3 is to enable SD-WAN options, for connecting multiple sites, or making it easy and secure for remote workers to access the network.
Like the switch, VigorACS 3 has an online demo, which can be accessed using the account name “guest” and the password “guest12345”. If you do buy a Vigor device, DrayTek provides a 30 day free trial of VigorACS 3, so you can test it out on your own server and network.
VigorACS can be installed on a Windows or Linux server, locally or in the cloud, and doesn’t need particularly demanding specs unless the network is very large. One advantage is auto provisioning, where new devices can be added to the network, and are automatically configured and updated by the VigorACS server. It also makes it easy to remotely control and schedule updates to your network. There’s also a host of data collection, from real time status monitoring (and alerts if equipment goes down) through to stats such as performance logging and report creation. VigorACS also has a VPN Wizard, which helps make it easy to create and backup configurations, and make sure your remote workers can stay connected.
While it is not the only option for TR-069 management, VigorACS is a great match for DrayTek hardware, and well worth the cost for the time savings alone. There’s also a large VigorACS knowledge base of articles that make using it much easier.
That said, the pricing for VigorACS makes it comparatively expensive for smaller networks running just one or two switches, and the potential time savings won’t really materialize until managing a much larger network. In which case, the licencing option for a small number of nodes is aimed at businesses that need features such as SD-WAN.
DrayTek offers a comprehensive ecosystem of products, and the VigorSwitch PQ2200xb fills an important niche in the lineup. While it is a solid stand alone product for a small to medium business, to get the full benefit, it’s best used in a larger DrayTek based networking ecosystem. The PQ2200xb faces some competition in the market from other switches, but few combine the same feature set for a comparable price.
All in all, the PQ2200xb does everything it promises, and is a great option to combine high speed networking, and robust PoE functionality. While we wish the overall power budget was slightly higher, and the switch was slightly quieter, these are minor quibbles. For those businesses that need PoE, but not the 90W of PoE++, consider alternative DrayTek options, including the 28 port Gigabit PoE VigorSwitch P1282, or for 10GbE, the 28-port VigorSwitch P2280x.