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what is backplane?

Posted on 2004-10-05
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I have a 3com baseline 10/100 24port switch and a Dell 3348 PowerConnect 48port switch that also has 2 - 1gb ports.  I was asked how they are connected and if they were backplaned.  

I do not know what this is or how to do it.  I have them connected with a crossover cable and thats all i know.

Can anyone help explain to me and help me backplane them.

thanks
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Question by:mmacdougall
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14 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:jbedwar1
ID: 12228217
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Author Comment

by:mmacdougall
ID: 12228247
I actually read that definition before, but it doesn't help me with what I am trying to do.
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by:jbedwar1
ID: 12228304
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Author Comment

by:mmacdougall
ID: 12228337
OK, forget about what backplane is.  How can I do it with my 2 switches.
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Expert Comment

by:jbedwar1
ID: 12228345
Unfortunately I dont know much about Backplanes myself... So all I can do is provide links to other resources.  Perhaps they can help give you an idea.

Backplane Designer's Guide.
http://www.fairchildsemi.com/ms/MS/MS-561.pdf

here is a page that has Someone elses backplane design http://www.sigcon.com/Pubs/edn/backplane.htm
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Assisted Solution

by:JFrederick29
JFrederick29 earned 100 total points
ID: 12228475
If you had a modular switch chassis like a Cisco 4500 or 6500, I guess the modules would be "backplaned", meaning you have different network modules plugging into the same switch chassis/backplane.  If you are connecting via cross over cable, I would say no, the switches are not "backplaned".  Do they mean clustered perhaps?  Clustering refers to physically seperate switches, connected to form one logical switch.  The cluster of physical switches can be managed as one logical entity.  If that is the case and you have two different manufacturers, I would venture to say clustering is impossible as it relies on software to handle the cluster.
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Assisted Solution

by:TRobertson
TRobertson earned 200 total points
ID: 12228488
Backplanes are usually some sort of pripority connection switch manufacturers will use to connect multiple switches together.  This backplane can handle the communication between switches to assist the switches in acting as one.  I have 4 intel switches with a backplane connection between all of them which in turn makes them act as one big 100 port switch or stack.  
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by:TRobertson
ID: 12228508
>>"how they are connected and if they were backplaned.  "
If the two switches are on the same lan then you must have some method for the switches to communicate.  This could be a cross-over cable or some sort of backplane connection, also sometimes called matrix connections.
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Expert Comment

by:etracsupport
ID: 12228712
i know with the dell switches they are stacked and they have a proprietary adapter to connect the two
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Assisted Solution

by:The--Captain
The--Captain earned 100 total points
ID: 12233009
>I have them connected with a crossover cable and thats all i know

Then just tell them that.  When they are asking about backplanes, I think they maybe just want to know if the equipment is modular (ie you can swap interface cards, etc).

> I have 4 intel switches with a backplane connection between all of them which in turn makes them act as one big 100 port
>switch or stack

I object to that definition of "backplane", although I guess if the equipment is simply connecting it's bus to accomodating equipment, the definition may be technically accurate.  In any case, I don't think I can recall any equipment that is manufactured by two different vendors that can be "backplaned".  I wonder if the folks that were asking these questions to the original poster were less than knowledgeable.

Cheers,
-Jon
 
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Assisted Solution

by:XSINUX
XSINUX earned 100 total points
ID: 12236364
Hi,

This link would help you find a solution to backplane the two switches ( 24port Switch with the Dell 48port Switch ) .
Click on this link http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/bluebook/28/clockgen/node3.html
Note Click Next and Previos on the page for more info.
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/bluebook/28/clockgen/node2.html


Some Configuring Info for the Dell Power Connect Switch 3348 can be found on this link http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/network/pc33xx/en/ug/configha.htm#1113900


Hope this Helps.

Cheers
Sinu
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Expert Comment

by:TRobertson
ID: 12236456
I think we all agree that a backplane is a connection to join multiple switches (usually same manufacture) to a single bus.  You are using a crossover cable for your switches to communicate, no backplane.  Have your questions have been answered, or what more do you need?

>>what is backplane?
Backplanes are usually some sort of pripority connection switch manufacturers will use to connect multiple switches together.  This backplane can handle the communication between switches to assist the switches in acting as one.

 >>"how they are connected and if they were backplaned.  "
If the two switches are on the same lan then you must have some method for the switches to communicate.  This could be a cross-over cable or some sort of backplane connection, also sometimes called matrix connections.

>>I have them connected with a crossover cable and thats all i know.
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Author Comment

by:mmacdougall
ID: 12236926
Is a backplane an extra piece of equipment which needs to be purchased to connect the 3com and the Dell?
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Accepted Solution

by:
TRobertson earned 200 total points
ID: 12237073
Your 3Com Baseline switch is an unmanaged entry-level switch that does not have any backplaning ablility.  However you Dell does have the ability to add the 1000BASE-SX SFP Transceiver for backplaning.  You can not backplane these two switches however if you wish to backplane in the future I would recommend purchasing another Dell 3348.

From dell product site -> 'The PowerConnect™ 3348 also offers stacking capabilities for simplified network management of multiple switches."
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