Wiring - run one cable to a room and then a switch for 3 pcs or run 3 cables? Same speed achieved?

Do switches reduce speed?
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As for reducing speed, depends on the switch. If it's a 'non-blocking' switch, is should not, as that means that the backplane or internal bandwidth capabillity of the switch should equal or exceed the potential maximum of the device. For example, NetGear makes a GS105 with 5 1 Gbps Ethernet ports. It is non-blocking as their spec is 10 Gbps...

1 cable = single point of failure - loose the cable and you loose all 3 machines
3 cables = 3 points of failure - single cable loss takes out 1 machine

1 cable means that all three machines on the switch needs to compete for the 1 connection back to the main location. 3 cables means they can each always transmit at their maximum potential.

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I think the simple answer to your question is what do you mean by speed?

Placing three computers on a single connection would decrease your 'average' throughput for all three computers to 1/3. Your port speed will still remain the same.

But in a realistic situation (in a corporate world), throughput reduction would be unnoticable there are other factors which should prevent a workstation from saturating even a measly 100Mb Ethernet connection.

As far as for justification: For a short term fix, I will drop small switches in places where I am short on ports until I can get my cabling contractor to come and install more drops. This is because having network equipment outside my locked computer closets is ultimately unacceptable.
fcekAuthor Commented:

Its for a small office.  The distances are short < 15 meters.  
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It really your choice. The answer is yes that installing a switch does reduce speed.

Are these high-end CAD workstations or are they running Adobe Creative Suite 5 for video editing off a server?

Or are they sitting there typing in Word and Excel, and sending some email?

if you install a switch use a gigabit switch. If you go the cable route just keep in mind anything over 300 ft of cat 5 will degrade the signal quality
Can I make the decision for you? Just run one cable and put a switch.
Why? You will not see a difference. The only time you see a difference if you were in a high end corporate environment where all 3 of those PC's were actual servers and all 3 were transferring Gigs of data every second.
In a small office environment you will not see a difference. Even if you PC's are High end Machines like the ones "BWarning" mentioned above you would still not see a difference because they will not be grabbing data all at the same time.

And I don't have to say that since I'm sure you are going to get a Gigabit switch.
It's not BWarning....

And, actually, I have seen this issue with AutoCad where a client had installed a switch like in this situation - to add an 3 extra people and CAD workstations at an existing location - and then they called me to see why "the new machines all ran slowly in AutoCad"... the shared blocks, drawings, fonts, etc... can make a noticable difference in a heavy use environment...

LOL Sorry for the Typo,


Please don't take this the wrong way, but I doubt that what you said is the main cause of the problem you described. I'm sure there were many other factors that caused those CAD Workstations to slow down. Troubleshooting those would be completely irrelevant to this discussion string, but I can pretty much guaranty that is not the case for FCEK.

And I say this agian, you your case there could have been many other things that caused the slowdown, like the server that they were pulling data from, the distance to that server, other network traffic at that time and so on, and of course that particular switch that you are talking about.

In this case FCEK even said it himself, it's for a small office
Don't worry, not taking it the wrong way, just want to be clear that is definitely CAN make a difference.

Yes, he said it was for a small office, but he did not say what they were doing. I asked that above, we haven't heard back yet. It PROBABLY won't make any difference at all; probably wouldn't make a difference if it was a 24-port switch if it's 'normal' office stuff, but I think it is important to ask the question and make him aware of the possibility, in case is applies... Just my opinion...

And I understand what you are saying, but no, in my real example, it was the switch. The three new machines were identical to the other 10 already running. Relative to THOSE machines, these three (plus the 4th original one at that location which had been working fine) were now running 'slow'. The switch they installed was 'replaced' with 3 cables back to the rack for the 3 new machines, and their 'speed' issues were resolved. So saying (not that you did) that it doesn't matter, is not necessarily true.

I'm sure FCEK has more than enough info now from to make a decision!
A 5x1Gb switch from Netgear would run ~$50 w/tax + shipping/gas.  Two more cables (on the same pull), and assuming you are doing your own labor...it's a no-brainer to pull the extra cable.

While I do agree that for _typical_ desktops and even small servers, 1Gb duplex at wire speed should make no difference at all for three users.  A single SATA drive tops out at 50-60MB/sec = 400Mbps.  So, two workstations could be pushing/pulling at full speed of the hard drive and still be OK.  That could be why three heavy-use workstations doing video, photos, 3D, etc. could see some slowdown on that same link.

At that short range...just pull the cable.  It's cheap.  You'll get a little more practice at termination, tracing, labeling.  While you're at it, make sure you leave an extra pull cord behind in case you want another run in that same direction.  Sometimes that first 10 feet is the hardest...having a pull cord can save you a lot of time and skinned knuckles.  Just don't forget to attach another pull cord when you use this one up.

fcekAuthor Commented:

Applications - outlook. very little file sharing. NO CAD etc.

I wanted to get opinions for future jobs.

Thanks for all the help.

I knew it from the beginning that you don't need anything special. Usuallly if people don't specify anything means that computers are for regular use.
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