Rebuilding Network

Posted on 2004-11-04
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
I have a 2 building network with about 150 computers in each. The buildings are connected via fiber. We had a power surge yesterday and the performance has not been the same since. I was planning on replacing all the old hubs with switches. I need a recommendation on managed vs. unmanaged switches (ie. makes and models). BTW, running about 240 win98's, a netware, a win2000, a "snap" server (don't know os) and the rest winxp. PLEASE HELP.
Question by:helmsc
    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    If you can afford the managed network devices, I'd get them.  Problem is they are typically 5-30x the cost of an unmanaged switch (depending on make, model/ports).  With managed switches you can create VLANs to better segregate your network traffic, as well as monitor network traffic to the port - so if one port is doing too much, you know it.

    The best products I think most people will agree would be Cisco managed switches.  But they are also among the most expensive.

    If you have SOME money, but not enough to have a managed port on every network device, I'd recommend the following topology (though really, knowing your average network utilization, what your users do on the network, etc. could very well modify this).

    10/100/1000 Managed Switch with Fibre uplink in each building - Put the fiber directly to this device then connect ALL other layer two switches to this.  You'll then at least be able to narrow down traffic issues to a port and a smaller switch.  Ideally, everything would be managed, but if not, this would do.
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    I can visualize the network as three subnets in my mind. One for the users of each building and one for the servers, this allows you to control server access when necessary (maybe not needed now but you never know).

    Switches being managed/non-managed is totally dependent to your needs, however, I would go for a managed one keeping scalability and future needs in mind. A managed switch gives you precise control on your network down to port level and even more if it supports Layer-3/4 processing. (In the later case, you can even control application traffic end-to-end through your network).

    Although I have no knowledge on the networking needs of your users, I would probably put 3 Cisco 2950G-48 switches in each building, stack three together and aggregate the uplinks on a 2000/3000 series router (where Internet connection might also be connected).

    If you somehow has plans for IP Telephony in a visible timeframe, it might be a good idea to look for devices supporting PoE (power over Ethernet). 3560 series.

    If you really have serious plans for future growth, you may consider 4500's but it seems to much to me.

    Hope this helps.
    LVL 4

    Assisted Solution

    I'd be looking for used cisco gear on Ebay, prolly.  Stacks of 29xx (with enterprise version IOS) gear prolly suits the need unless you tell us more detail.  I also think 150 computers is a little big for single layer 3 subnet, and I'd consider some flavor routing (some will tell you VLANS will do enuf traffic management and they might be right, depends on your real networking needs).


    Author Comment

    here is a little more detail. it is a elementary school with the router and snap maintained by a separte group. they have us setup for dhcp ... all internal ips are either 10.26.0.x or 10.26.1.x both with a subnet of
    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    Believe it or not, Cisco is not the only game in town. The Dell switches have been doing okay in the market, such as the

    DELL PowerConnect 3348 48-Port Fast Ethernet (managed with Gigabit uplinks) $799
    DELL PowerConnect 2624 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch (unmanaged with fiber uplinks) $369

    Also 3COM has some decent switches, but are higher in cost than the Dells. Also Dell offers K-12 school discounts that might help you.

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