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Simple question - connecting multiple switches to router to increase internet bandwidth

Posted on 2006-07-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi there!  For some reason, this is escaping me.  

I am doing a total network overhaul tonight.  We have close to 100 users on 6 different switches, most of them 10/100.  Right now each switch has a cable connecting the uplink port of that switch to a port on the "Main Switch".  All of the servers are also connected to that Main Switch.  One cable connects that Main Switch to a 24 port, 100 Mbps SonicWall Pro 1260 Router.  

Tonight, I will be replacing these switches with 4 Dell PowerConnect 5324 switches (24port, all gig), connecting the uplinks of these switches to a 5th PowerConnect 5324 switch, and will "team" 8 cables to go upstairs, connecting to a 6th PowerConnect switch in the "server room", allowing for an 8Gbps pipeline from the main switch to the "server switch".

With our current setup, and with the overhaul tonight, we still have that one 100mbps cable going from the main switch to the router, therefore, all 100 users are sharing that one cable for internet access.  My question is this:  can I connect a second cable from each of the 4 switches that our users are connected to, and connect them directly to the router?  If I were able to do this, a max of 24 people would be sharing a 100Mbps cable to the router, instead of a max of 96.  Or would this create a loop?

Also, is my overhaul plan feasible?

Thank you very much for your comments and suggestions...
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Question by:redmanjb
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15 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:redmanjb
ID: 17131416
Also, as a sidenote, I will be replacing all 100 Mbps NICs with gigs tonight.
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LVL 12

Accepted Solution

by:
Scotty_cisco earned 250 total points
ID: 17131488
You would have to have 2 seperate network ranges to do this and you would add aditional complexity to the network.  I do not think you would see enough bennefit to outweigh the cost in the long run.  Besides what is the internet link anyway if it is not over 100Mb what is the point of feeding the router more than the slowest link?

Thanks
scott
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:cbromley33
cbromley33 earned 250 total points
ID: 17131512
As Scotty said, increasing bandwidth to the firewall isn't going to speed up your internet connection unless your internet connection is larger than 100mb, which, unless you are paying a small country's fortune, it isn't.  So, your internet bottleneck is the internet connection itself.  Upgrading to the gig switches is GREAT for server communication, however, so all the work wasn't done for nothing.

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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:jburgaard
ID: 17131537
If you have 3Mb/3Mb internet connection I am with Scotty cisco.
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Expert Comment

by:RPPreacher
ID: 17131572
Is there a purpose to the redesign?  What problem are you trying to solve?  Maybe we can offer some suggestions.
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Author Comment

by:redmanjb
ID: 17131815
Wow you guys are quick! :)

We have a 5Mbs cable connection coming in (Brighthouse), but yes, I clearly see now how wiring each switch separately to the router will really not help at all.

RPPreacher, I am doing the redesign for the sole purpose of increasing the available bandwidth of our network.  We are an engineering firm, and with the 60+ CAD users constantly opening and working on large drawings, things are very slow.  And the way things are wired now, up to 24 people (or 48, depending on which switch we're talking about) are sharing one gigabit line (for LAN traffic) to another switch where all the servers are located.  I'm just wanting to open things way up by providing an 8gig line to the server switch.  From that server switch, I am teaming 4 cables to the quad-port card NIC on our main file server, 2 to the dual-port nic on our smaller file server, 2 to the mail server, etc.
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Author Comment

by:redmanjb
ID: 17131848
Also, I want to be able to do real-time replication of files to our backup server (using PeerSync High Volume Server), which I cannot do now because it slows the network down too much for our CAD users.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:NetAdmin2436
ID: 17131856
Are you trying to get faster internet? or faster LAN performance?

Yep, increasing bandwidth to the router will not help you in any way. I agree with the above. Your LAN speeds will be lighting fast, but internet will still be same. An all GB network is great if your doing network intensive stuff like large CAD drawings over the network, LAN video streams, ect...For just email and internet, an all GB network may be overkill. If you can decrease the number of switches in your network to decrease the number of potential bottlenecks (uplinks to your main switch), then all the better; But your internet speed will be the same.

Hope this helps.
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:giltjr
ID: 17131901
How many servers?  What type of SAN systems do you have?  Going with 4 seperate gigabit connects teamed together is not going to help if your disk subsystem can't keep up.

What type of servers?  Number of CPU's, memory and OS.  Generally unless you do a lot of tuning on the server most single and dual CPU boxes running Windows won't push more that 600-800 Mbps a second no matter how many gigabit NICs you have teamed together.  

If everything is gig, the first change you will want to try is to use Jumbo frames.

IMHO NIC teaming to a mail server would only make sense if you had each NIC going to a different switch for redundcy.  Unless you are sending and receiving a LOT of e-mail you are never going to push a e-mail server beyond a few hundred K a second.
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:RPPreacher
ID: 17131909
>We are an engineering firm, and with the 60+ CAD users constantly opening and working on large drawings, things are very slow

I work for an architectural design firm with about 500 CAD users (AutoCAD, Microstation, and GeoPak mostly).

Have you thought about a 10Gb switch serving your core file server?  Also, for back ups, why not have a cold server (duplicate) and an external SCSI store connected to the main file server.  Mirror the file store and the external store.  If the main server goes offline, move the SCSI cable to the cold server and power it up!
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:NetAdmin2436
ID: 17131925
Ok, i should have refreshed my screen before posting my last comment.

Your new GB switches should definatly help your LAN performance in this situation since you have a bunch of CAD users. But again, it won't help internet.

It sounds like your 10/100 uplinks from each switch to the main switch are bottlenecks. Are all your servers on the main switch as well?
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Author Comment

by:redmanjb
ID: 17131937
Great ideas RPPreacher.  I would love to do that, but have been waiting for nearly a year (since I started) to just get the network upgrades (at only $6500, pays for itself in no time).  This company (well, mainly the CEO and CFO) is very tight with the money, and won't even give up some to purchase additional CAD licenses, making people fight for the network licenses.  It's a little on the frustrating side (to say the least!), but this will be a good step in the right direction.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Scotty_cisco
ID: 17131961
so are you trying to increase internet bandwith or backbone bandwidth?  The backbone will be improved greatly by these upgrades but the internet is still going to be your bottle neck.

Thanks
Scott
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:RPPreacher
ID: 17132006
For internet performance, you could look at a proxy server.  We did and had gains of 30-33% (ISA 2004 Standard)
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Author Comment

by:redmanjb
ID: 17132422
Well, I'm going to close the question now.  Thank you again for the quick and helpful responses.  I'm splitting points between Scotty_cisco and cbromley33, because Scotty_cisco answered it first correctly, and cbromley33 first made it easier to understand.  Thanks for the input guys! :)
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