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Is it better to have managed switces in a chain or a loop?

Posted on 2008-10-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi,

My company wants to install 6 managed switches om different floors connected via fiber modules. We already have the fiber panels in place, so it is just a matter af connecting the switches. I want to know if it is better to have them in a loop or a chain. The latter will spare us having to buy two extra gigabit fiber transceiver modules and cable for them to complete the loop. The switch which will have the servers on it will be in the basement, which means at the end of the chain, not in the middle.

Thank you!
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Question by:rookie_b
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JFrederick29 earned 400 total points
ID: 22613223
If you chain the switches and a switch fails in the middle, connectivity to the servers is lost for the devices connected to the failed switch as well as the switches "above" the switch that failed.  A loop or ring configuration at least mitigates this scenario as there is an alternate path to reach the servers.  It is your decision to weigh cost versus network availability.
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by:from_exp
from_exp earned 100 total points
ID: 22613238
loop provides additional redundancy, but spanning tree should be enabled to maintain logical loop free topology
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Expert Comment

by:JFrederick29
ID: 22613258
Good point from_exp...

I assumed you would be using switches with Spanning Tree enabled.  If using switches that don't run Spanning Tree, you can't loop the switches.
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Expert Comment

by:JFrederick29
ID: 22613275
If running non-spanning tree capable switches, I would suggest configuring the switches in a star topology meaning plug all the floor switches directly into the switch connected to the servers.  This is assuming that if the server switch (and servers) are down, there is no point in having communication between clients.
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Author Closing Comment

by:rookie_b
ID: 31501914
THank you guys. This is exactly what I needed.

Cheers!
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