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From dumb switch to Layer 3 core switch

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#1 norulez43


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Posted 09 February 2017 - 10:16 AM

We are a business of about 50 employees. We've always just used cheap dumb Netgear switches. We have a 16 port and a 24 port switch hanging off an RV082 router. There are then connections from these switches to our production PCs. We also have one line that goes out into an adjoining building and connects to a switch out there, which in turn provides network connectivity to a bunch of PCs out there. That's just to give you an idea of where we're at now. 

Now, we're installing new WIFI and need to have guest access capabilities so we're looking at getting a layer 3 core switch so we can use VLANs. My question is in regards to sizing the core switch. Is it best to get as many ports as possible to have our PCs connected directly to this core switch or is it OK to get a smaller switch with fewer ports and hang our dumb switches off of that and have that be a distribution switch. Do we lose anything by doing this? I'm trying to figure out whether I need a 52 port switch or if I can get a smaller one and expand the ports by hanging our dumb switches off that. If I haven't given enough info, please let me know and I'll fill in the blanks. 

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#2 Kilroy


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Posted 09 February 2017 - 11:06 AM

Having a minimal number of switches is normally the better performing solution.  I think you're going to end up with two switches, maybe a 48 port and a 24 port.  This would allow you to reconnect your current equipment and leave you some room for expansion or failed ports.


When you have multiple switches everyone on a switch shares the connection to the main network.  Communication to other devices on the same switch is at the speed of the switch, but from the switch to devices on the second switch or Internet you share off switch speed with every device connected to the switch.  This is why switches have a high speed connector, to connect switches to each other.  So, while speeds may be great transferring files from a server on the same switch, speeds to web sites would be much slower if everyone on the switch was using the web at the same time.

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