How much difference does it make if I mix switches from different vendors?

Posted on 2007-10-17
Last Modified: 2010-03-18
How much difference does it make to network performance if I mix switches from different vendors?
I already have a 24-port managed switch from Netgear.  (Netgear GS724T).  I need to add capacity for another 240 ports.
I am trying to choose between 10, 24-port Netgear switches (NETGEAR JGS524) and 5, 48-port 3Com switches (3COM Baseline switch 2948-SFP Plus).
I was imagining that all the new switches would connect directly to the existing 24-port managed switch as a "head-end".

1.  Does it matter much if I mix vendors?  
2.  What difference does it make to have a smaller number of larger switches?  i.e. 5, 48-port vs 10, 24-port switches?
Question by:Dwight Baer
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    in a theoretical sense mixing vendors should have no effect but sometimes vendors do things slightly differently so you may notice performance differences between them, though these should be minimal. In terms of the differences between 24 and 48 port switches, definitally go with the 48s and if at all possible get them with fiber uplink modules so that you can have a high speed backbone between them. Using larger switches is a really good idea because it means that the bandwith between the ports is at full rate, whereas between switches its a shared link. Also try to implement a star topology for your switches as opposed to a chain, this will improve cross-switch performance
    LVL 16

    Assisted Solution

    by:Aaron Street
    as well as star topology i would also suggest reserved links between major switches and reslient links to help if a single switch should fail you have minium desterbance to the network. This would requie some thing like spanning tree being used.

    this is an example where you might get problems. Cisco and 3com for instance both have Spanning tree functions that adhear to the regulations. but Cisco for one i know has its own spanning tree that expands on this. running different makes of switches can cause problems here.

    however unless you know you use a particualr function that is propritory to that make. then most switch tecnology is regulated, and all has to conform. so uneder 99% of situations using differnt makes will not cause any problems at all.

    Author Comment

    by:Dwight Baer
    Thank you VERY much!

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