People ask us this question every so often. When clients require a third-party switch, we recommend Cisco because their reliability, feature sets and performance are the best we've found. They also offer a wide range of switches at all price points to meet individual users' needs.
How come other manufacturers' switches don't measure up? This is mostly due to individual manufacturers' differing implementation of the same "standards". For file transfers and e-mail, these differences are immaterial. But for VoIP and, most especially, IP-Audio, these implementations become more important. It's quite possible for a given switch to "work" with just a few nodes attached, but when a more robust test of Axia's capabilities is applied, that same switch can fail.
For example, we found a nice, inexpensive switch from a well-known manufacturer which, on paper, met all specs and worked with small systems in the lab. However, it turned out to not actually meet its own published specs when deployed for rigorous service in a large Livewire system.
For this reason, we recommend and qualify only selected Cisco switches for Axia clients whose network designs require a large switch fabric. And for more moderately-sized networks, there are Axia-designed switches built into our PowerStation, QOR and xSwitch products — which employ some of the very same high-performance chipsets found in Cisco switches.