stacking 3com switches

hi,

i'm looking at buying 3com switches but am a bit confused on the configuration needed.
i work in an office with about 100 staff.  our switches are 5 years old and i think they should be replaced.

we have a mix of 40 ports -- 10/100/1000G for the servers
and 120 ports for the users

i was thinking about getting
1 -- 5500G 48port for the servers
1 -- 5500G 24port for the users
2 -- 4500 48ports for the usrs

what would be the best way to connect this up so they could basically be 1 managed device? or any other suggestion on how to connect these together for good data flow.  the add-on modules to get this working are a bit confusing to me.

any help here would be appreciated.

regards,
MarkCnz


MarkCnzAsked:
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kdearingCommented:
My recommendations:

3Com -
1x  5500G-EI 48-Port
3x  4210 52-Port

You could go with the 4500 for the users, but for basic network connectivity, unnecessary.

The best way to connect them is a ring.
See attached.
EE-Switch-Cluster.pdf
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MarkCnzAuthor Commented:
Thanks kdearing,

here is some background left off of the original message.  sorry i did not give the full picture from the beginning.

I was thinking of the smaller 5500G-EI 24 port as I have some users with 1GB connections doing 3D modeling.

Next year I also plan on replacing our aging phone system with a VOIP based system like the cisco call manager express.  so i was wanting switches that could easily do voice vlans hence the selection of the 4500s.

knowing this would you still recommend the switches you listed?

for connecting the switches together... what type of cable would you use?



 
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kdearingCommented:
Nothing wrong with your choices, I just think it's more than necessary. But you know your network better than anyone.

I don't know what your budget is, but your costs are getting close to Cisco territory.
If you got the money, Cisco might be a better choice.

Myself, I'm a fan of Extreme switches; better performance (expecially with QoS) and costs less than Cisco.

Note that the diagram I provided is for clustering, not stacking.
Stacking can only be done within the same family of switches. You can stack the 5500s together and the 4500s together. Stacking also requires a special stack cable.

For clustering, you can either use fiber (need SFPs) or copper (preferably CAT6).
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MarkCnzAuthor Commented:
thanks for the info provided. it was very helpful.  more info on how to stack the 4500s would have been helpful too but I guess I could get a 10GB module to make the stack if I want more than a 1GB fabric.  i checked the 4210 and they do seem nice.  the extra cost of a 4500 compared to a 4120 is only about US$125 per 48port unit so I'm going to go with the 4500s.  cheers
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