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Looking for a 10/100 10base2 switch...

Posted on 1998-05-07
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I want to increase speed on our network, and I'm thinking of using a 10/100MB switch. We currently have seven coax 10MB segments connected through a repeater to the server.
1. Is there a switch with at least 7 BNC/COAX/10Base2 connections available, and if so what brand/type etc.?

Upgrading the infrastructure to 10Base-T isn't really an option...

2. Also what EISA card should I use for 100MB, which supports NW3.11?

Thanks in advance,
Henrie.
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Question by:henrie
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paulnic earned 100 total points
ID: 1592346
With 10-BT's dominance and manufacturers having little incentive to preserve coax, I doubt anyone makes (at least for the U.S. market) a switch with multiple coax ports.  You could use media converters on each port (and typically a small hub is the most cost-effective media converter), but you might be happier putting multiple NICs in the server, with one or several coax segments on each.  Some of these NICs could be 10BT ones you may already have.  I've run seven NICs in a EISA server under 3.11 with good results...just watch IRQ's!

For EISA 10/100, the 3COM  3C597-TX is a decent card.

How many total workstations?

One thing some people discover who try switches...

Unless your current 10BT server NIC is particularly slow, your speed after switching will be no faster than what you get now (after hours) if you have just one workstation powered on.  Will this be fast enough for you?

Peace^^Paul

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by:henrie
ID: 1592347
Thanks for the quick response, Paul !

Currently we have about 125 workstations running here. Part of them (about 70) come from another building nextdoor, which has a UTP infrastructure.
The server has 2 NICs, one NE3200 and one FL32 (Intel). The repeater is connected to the NE3200 and the HUBs from the building nextdoor are connected to the FL32 (UTP).

The idea behind the switch is to gradually upgrade the network and keep the costs low. A switch and a 100MB NIC seemed to be a costeffective solution.
Thanks for the idea of using small HUBs as mediaconverters, why didn't I think of that?

Can you also recommend a specific switch?
If I use the mediaconverters, it looks to me it can be a standard one...

Thanks again,
Henrie.
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by:paulnic
ID: 1592348
If you're intent on buying a switch, now's a time.  Several mfrs announced price cuts and new models at this week's Networld+Interop.  I'd look at 3com, Netgear(Bay), Intel and maybe Asante.  The low-end small-office products tend to have best pricing, some with lifetime warranties, for which I'm easy game.  Netgear's SW510 has 8 10Mb ports and 2 10/100 for $520 after $50 rebate from DataComm Warehouse.  3com has its SuperStack II Baseline switch: 12 x 10 Mbps plus 2 x 10/100 ports for US List $895 per unit, probably available discounted.
             
Using hubs as media converters, make sure you have crossover (MDI or uplink) switches at either the hub or the switch end.  Alternatively, you can use crossover cables.  DataComm Warehouse has a $39.95 8 port MicroHub w/BNC and RJ45 uplink, but I've no experience with the Compex brand.

I know switching is cool, but at $520 for a switch, $280-$350 for hubs and probably another $240 for an EISA 100Mbit card, plus cables, you're probably out $1150.  Since one switch will do virtually nothing for the 70 stations on the single segment next door (unless it's in that building), and you only have 55 stations on your seven local coax segments, why not yank the somewhat antique NE3200 and split your coax among
two or three 3c509B-TPCs at $70 apiece, plus maybe another hub or two.

You won't believe me, but I'd bet your coax PC's would be as fast or faster than the switch scenario at least 95% of the time!  And if you wait six months, the switched solution will be cheap enough so you can get two solutions for the price of just the switching version today.

Of course, if I really want to push my luck, I'll ask you what evidence leads you to conclude that the bottleneck in your LAN is on the wire or in the server NICs.  Because if the real bottleneck is elsewhere (like server disk channel), all the switches in the world won't speed it up.....

Peace^^Paul

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