basics of a switch

Need to know some basics of networking.  I am looking at our wiring closet and see all of the cables for the whole building coming into the patch panel.  Then there is a cable plugged into each of the patch panels ports and plugged into the ports on our 2  HP procurve switches.  These switches are configured with IP addresses.  My question is, where is the communication between the switch and the rest of the network?  What is causing this scenario to be a network?  It seems like there are just cables plugged into a switch.  Is there a connection somewhere that communicates with the server?  I am just learning this stuff and thought I would get a "good" answer from you guys.

mkramer777Asked:
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Feroz AhmedSenior Network EngineerCommented:
Hi,

The Scenario is like this you install OS on all workstations and on one workstation you will install Active Directory and that workstation is converted into Domain Controller means it will take care of all the workstations in that particiular domain and the remaining workstations are added to that domain or joined to that domain or server and to connect these network systems one requires cables and to manage these cables one requires a switch or hub usually swtich is used if the network is big network as switch has a console port to configure a switch .and once the work group systems are joined to domain controller or member of server then one can communicate within network and in the same manner if someone wants to communicate to different network a router is required and it has got many more configurtions and this information for you is enough as you are at initial stage of learning networking concept.
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SouljaCommented:
All of those cables plugged into the switch are leading to another device (switch, router, etc) or endpoint (computer, server, ip phone, wireless ap, etc).  The switches allow these devices to communicate with one another.
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SouljaCommented:
The patch panel is where the data jacks that you see out on the floor terminate. Then they are connected to the switch(s).
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Steven CarnahanNetwork ManagerCommented:
You would need to look at the configuration of the swtich however it sounds like the following might apply.

1. There is an cable connecting the two switches together
2. There is a cable that connects to the router, or possible to another switch in the server room

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EirmanChief Operations ManagerCommented:
Give this free software a try ... it will help you visualise your network as far as you can see it.
http://www.gliffy.com/uses/network-diagram-software/

Post your results here in a new question and the experts should be able to fill in any gaps
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Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
In its simplest form the switch is just a big electronic junction box that allows all those cables to talk to one another.

I like to think that there is a computer inside (well, there *is*) and it has its own IP address and it's effectively "plugged into" the switch internally.  So that's how computers on the LAN can talk to it.  It goes through that "junction box" too!  

Beyond that, the switches *may* be configured to do a lot of other things:
- assign a port that will mirror the traffic on any other port for monitoring purposes.
- assign some ports to different LANs called virtual LANs or VLANs.  This means that they can't be "seen" by computers on the other LANs.
- some switches have routing capabilities and might route between VLANs according to how you configure the routing.
- set up SNMP so you can monitor the switch from a workstation.
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mkramer777Author Commented:
Here is the config.  1 cable is coming out of an ADTRAN Netvanta 3430 and plugging into 1 of the switches.  There is a cable coming out of the ADTRAN and going into a ZHONE TNF1544.  We have 3 locations that are connected and use a central location for internet.  This is a brand new setup.  Our ISP did the install.  They said it was ETHERNET between the offices.  Does this help?  Which one of these devices is acting as the router?  
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Steven CarnahanNetwork ManagerCommented:
That would be the ADTRAN Netvanta 3430
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mkramer777Author Commented:
are there any software programs out there that scan your system and show you a network diagram?
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mkramer777Author Commented:
Does the ADTRAN have a specific IP address?  It does show an ip on a label on the front but I cannot ping it.  How do I find this address if it does have one?
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mkramer777Author Commented:
Back to the original question.  How does the router work in this scenario.  Does it get info from the server?  How does it communicate with the switches?
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Steven CarnahanNetwork ManagerCommented:
Try firman's suggetion:   36489394

You could also try Netflow. It is primarly designed for use with Cisco equipment however. Either solution could also assist with your other thread.
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Steven CarnahanNetwork ManagerCommented:
1. Yes the Adtran has a specific IP address.  It may be configured to block ICMP traffic resulting in PING not responding. Your switch configuration and any workstation ipconfig should be able to give you the IP address of the router.  At the workstation open a command prompt and type ipconfig /all and look for the Default Gateway to get the ip address

2. The router has a config just like the swtich does. It "knows" about the switch IP addresses and has a "route" in the configuration to send information to the switch. It has a similar route to send traffic to the server.
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mkramer777Author Commented:
Thank you!  Right to the point.  Totally understood.  Thanks for giving me the info I needed.
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SouljaCommented:
WTH? Where did domain controllers get mentioned in the question. Lol!!
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