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Differences between HP, 3COM and Cisco

Lately I have been working a lot with HP(2610, 2620), 3COM(4500, 5500) and Cisco switches. For a customer I migrated the 3COM cores switch to a Cisco Coreswitch. Before this job I never worked with HP or 3COM before. Although networking principles and protocols are the same for Cisco, HP and 3Com, there are some substantial differences between them.

First of all you have to understand that “trunking” in Cisco language means that you configure a port to transport several vlan’s. In HP/3COM it means bundeling two or more physical interfaces to one logical interface. Bundeling physical ports to become one logical port is called “port-channeling” in Cisco language.  The equivalent of Cisco’s trunking in HP/3COM language is “port tagging”.

When you configure a trunk port on a Cisco switch, you configure the port to allow trunking of several vlan’s. When configuring port-tagging you create a vlan and add ports to the vlan. An example:






3com trunk


Since HP bought 3COM in 2010, I was clearly dealing with a lot of old stuff. So the 3COM CLI doesn’t exist anymore on modern switches. It’s all HP now. Nevertheless it is possible you encounter 3COM switches in modern networks. Below a table with some handy show command’s for Cisco and the equivalents for HP and 3COM.


Then there is good old spanning-tree. On the internet you read a lot about horror story’s about spanning-tree between Cisco and HP/3COM. After reading about it, I configured “rapid spannig-tree ” (802.1w) on the Cisco core switchs. On the HP and 3COM switches the equivalent of 802.1w was already configured. After replacing the 3COM core switch with the Cisco model, I did not encounter any problems with spanning-tree!

One other thing that catched my attention, is that the HP 2610 and 2620 only host a maximum of 8 vlan’s and 16 static routes.

Off course there are a lot of other differences between Cisco and HP/3COM, but the ones described as above are the most obvious ones.