Is it bad to chain switches?

Posted on 2006-05-16
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
if i have one switch chained to another switch, is that bad?

if not, what is the max number of chains before it starts causing issues?

i am asking because i am looking at buying a switch.  if i get one that has only 2 gigabit ports, and the rest 10/100, can i connect another small 8-port gigabit switch to one of the 2 gigabit ports in order to expand the number of gigabit ports?

also, i am asking because at some point in the future we may need more ports and i'd like to know if i have the option of just buying a second switch to connect to the first one and thereby expanding the number of ports

Question by:zephyr_hex
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    It would depend on how large your network is as to how many switches in a row are bad.  It seems to me like you are talking about a relatively small network, so I'll go with that.

    I would make the 8-port Gigabit switch your core switch, and connect the 10/100 switch to it using one of the Gigabit ports.  You always want your fastest equipment as your core equipment.  I.E. the Gigabit switch.  This will allow you to later expand your network off of the "core" Gigabit switch instead of daisy-chaining it off of a user level switch.  You'll save a lot of bandwidth that way.
    LVL 42

    Author Comment

    it is a small network.  right now, about 10 computers and 2 or 3 servers.  i am going to be wiring the office this weekend...
    i was planning on getting a 24 port switch in order to allow for expansion.  but i think getting a 24 port gigabit switch may be overkill right now because most of the computers do not have gigabit NICs.  but if i get a 24 port switch that has only 2 gigabit ports, that seems like too little.

    so i should get a small (8 port) gigabit switch, and then connect that to the larger 24 port switch.  this would give me more gigabit ports without wasting money on a 24 port that has all gigabit ports.  i could connect the internet connection and the servers to the 8 port switch, and all of the client computers to the 24 port one.  sound right?

    if i ended up needing more than 24 ports a few years from now, could i add yet one more switch to the picture or would i need to replace the 8 port with something larger?
    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution

    If you are using the 8-port Gigabit switch as the core, assuming you use one of the Gigabit links for your ISP link, you have 7 Gigabit ports to play with.  If you currently have one 24-port 10/100 switch with 2 Gigabit ports, that would leave you 6 empty Gigabit ports on the Core switch for further expansion.  

    Example:  If you filled all 7 available Gigabit ports with 24-port 10/100 switches, you would have 168 available 10/100 ports for computers, servers, etc.  

    Also, with the amout of computers/servers you are talking about you would be just fine daisy-chaining 1 or 2 switches together in case you need a few extra ports without adding mush latency to your network.

                    8-Port Gigabit
                       |     |      |
              Server      |     24-Port 10/100
                             |                          |
                    Future Switch                Users
                    Future Users

    Hope this helps...
    LVL 42

    Author Comment

    thanks.  that answers my question!

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