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Proper way to connect multiple switches, firewall, modem, and server on LAN?

Posted on 2008-10-30
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Recently installed new server and LAN rack. I have two Linksys/Cisco 24 port GHZ switches - one Sonicwall TZ170 firewall - DSL modem and one Poweredge T605 DHCP/DNS/file server. The switches are unmanaged, firewall has multiple ports out, dsl has one port out.
We have just retrofitted an unsused office into a server/ computer maint. room. All new cat5e cable connecting 35 user desktops. Windows 2003 server Enterprise R2 & Xp Pro machines...
I finally have a nice place and good equipment to work with. As I am not a full time IT pro (Ag Engineer)  I do however have over 20 years Network and Desktop install / maintenace experience. Yet, I have never known exactly what the best way is to cable the switches, server, firewall, and modem together.
Currently I have desktops cabled into each switch - server into one switch - one switch jumpered to the other switch - firewall connected to one switch and of course the DSL modem into the firewall.
Is this the proper method for connecting these devices? I tried conecting the Firewall (4 outputs) to each switch but this seemed to create a loop as the lights on the switches began to flash very fast.
I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!!
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Question by:HPWD
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bkepford earned 50 total points
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Yes that is the corect way. The switches (at least unmanaged) need only be connected by one link and that link should be a CAT 5 or CAT 6 crossover cable. Don't let the switches become a loop (managed switches are different as you can customize for redundancy).
Only one connection to the Firewall is needed and it should be the trusted Interface. The WAN interface should be plugged into the DSL modem.
Servers and hosts can be plugged into any port on either switch.
All other cables are straight through. The reason for the cross over cable between the switches is because it swaps the transmit and receive pins which is needed if you are connecting either a host to another host (by host I mean an end device aka pc, router, printer or firewall) or connecting a switch to another switch.
 
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by:HPWD
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Regarding the switches, all ports have auto speed negotiation and auto MDI/MDI-X crossover detection. I thought I need not utilize cross pair cable to jump these together.
Am I missing the boat here?
Thanks for the help!!!
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by:bkepford
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That is correct. If it can auto sence then straight through cable works fine.
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