Request for confirmation of topological plans ref: layer 3 switches and IP routing over fiber links

We currently have several LANS linked together via 4 DSL and 3 T1 circuits. Topology is hub / spoke. We also of course have an Internet connection. We have/own a CISCO firewall and CISCO routers (for the T1 links) .  Each site is a subnet. Everything is managed by our ISP.

We are about to switch (no pun intended) over to private single mode fiber links.  Fiber tests out fine using 100mbs media converters. Our plan is to use IMC Network media converters (gigabit) or gbics and a layer 3 switch at our hub site, and standard 10/100 and gigabit layer 2 switches at the edge of the spoke sites.

My understanding is that the layer 3 switch will take over the IP "routing" --- true?  Any other comments / suggestions on our approach?

Also, any specific recommendations on layer 3 brands? I've looked at HP, DELL, and of course our ISP wants to sell us a CISCO

I assume our existing CISCO routers are no longer needed and will have to be "let go". True?

How hard is the programming on these layer 3 switches? I know this is a subjective question.
Our goal is to build up the new stuff one  spoke at a time so as not kill everyone at once.

thanks again for any help that anyone can offer.
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Just went through this exercise for a client. How many users at the remote sites? If under 8 users, then the Cisco 2940 series switch has a model that you can put a single-mode SFP GBIC into for the remotes, and the Cisco 3550-12G is a great Layer 3 switch that can be the hub for full Gigabit connectivity to every site. Super easy to setup and manage. You can manage them all from a single web interface using the Cluster Management Suite web-gui.

Yes, you can "retire" your routers as you will not need them.

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computerservicesAuthor Commented:
thanks for the quick response -- i am familiar with the 12G and we will use that for our hub site; can we use any gbic capable layer 2 switch at the spoke sites? we have a bunch of allied telesyn 8224 switches.

I don't see why not. Ethernet is Ethernet..
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