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Logical to add a new 24-port switch and where?

First let me give you a little background information as to how our place is currently networked. We have a DSL Cisco 670 modem hooked up to a Firebox 700 Firewall. The Firewall directs traffic to a NetGear 10/100 8-port hub. From this hub we have an application and web server hooked up as well as another D-Link 10/100 16-port Hub w/ Switch.

All of our ports are currently filled (on the 16 port switch and the 8 port hub). We have a couple of new people coming on board and need some room to expand. I am getting a 24 port Switch but have a couple of questions about hooking everything up as I am pretty inexperienced at this.

First of all. If my understanding of a Switch is correct - wouldn't it make more sense to put the Switch ahead of the Hub (i.e. replace our NetGear Hub with the switch and then plug the Hub into the Switch - or just get rid of it all together)? If not why? Also, is there any configurations I need to make to get things working? I assumed everything was sort of "plug-n-play" in the world of hubs and switches. Hopefully it is just a matter of swapping cords around and that is that. Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
csingsaas
Cody Singsaas
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csingsaas
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csingsaas
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LucFCommented:
Hi csingsaas,

Your best option might be to just ditch the old hub and switch and connect the new switch to the firewall directly. This will avoid a lot of collision when devices are internally requesting data from one of the servers which are now on the hub, and it'll also make sure all devices can communicate on optimum speed with each other.
This assumes you have bought a 24 port switch with 4.8GBit internal bandwidth (most common for high quality switches)

It's very plug&play, just connect the cables to the new switch and all will work like it did before. If it's a managed switch you can afterwards change the settings, but by default it'll just work like any other switch.

Greetings,

LucF
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csingsaasAuthor Commented:
The only thing is that we are maxed out on a total of 24 ports - we need to have three more so I really need to keep the 16 port hub/switch in place. I think I'll just put the new 24 port hub behind the Firebox like you suggested and then daisy chain the 16 port hub/switch. I realize that isn't ideal but I think it may work in our situation. My main concern is that I didn't have to do any configurations similar to what you would have to do with a router.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Switches learn the locations of computers via MAC addresses (a sort of electronic serial number every network device has).  Hubs have to broadcase the infromation to every port where a switch knows what port to send the data to.  As a result, a hub tends to have a lot of collisions (packets that effectively end up getting lost) whereas a switch doesn't have many.  Because of the way they work, a switch can potentially run at 2x the advertised speed - with an asterisk.  The asterisk is that if you have a 100Mb switch, it means it can transmit data 100Mb TO a system at the SAME TIME as it transmits 100Mb FROM the system - giving 200Mb of bandwidth.

Given the cost of switches, I'd trash all old hubs.  They aren't worth using in my opinion.

Layer 2 switches (most of you relatively cheap switches) are plug and play.  Give them power and plug the computers into them and that should do it.  Layer 3 switches are much more expensive and can do more.  When people refer to unmanaged switches, they are typically referring to the ones you likely have/are buying.  Managed switches typically cost $500 or more and can do a lot of things, in some respects they even act as routers (not your typical cable DSL routers, but higher end networking routers).
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LucFCommented:
>>I think I'll just put the new 24 port hub behind the Firebox like you suggested and then daisy chain the 16 port hub/switch.<<
Yeah, in this case, this might be your best option, just make sure not to put high bandwidth using machines on the chained 16 switch. (if it's a switched hub, and not an actual switch you'll see some bad performance from these if you use a lot of bandwidth) The maximum connection between the two switches will be 100Mbit, so you'll loose the advantage of the big internal bandwidth on the devices connected to the 16 port switch.

LucF
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csingsaasAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for the assistance - it's been worth my membership fee to get straight answers in such a timely manner. Thanks again.
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LucFCommented:
You're very welcome Cody.

Luc
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