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Using copper uplinks from switch to switch? Should I bother?

Posted on 2011-09-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
hi guys,

we've got three HP 3500 (48 port) switches and three 3Com 2948-SFP switches. At the moment, the way they're connected is with ethernet ports and like a chain. So switch 1 is connected to switch 2, switch 2 to switch 3 and so on. All of the switches each have some spare ports left on them (around 6 ports left).

I've been asked to look into using copper links between the switches, so for switch 1 to get connected to switches 2,3. Then for switch 2 to get connected to switch 4,5,6.

Is this worth it? Are there any changes I have to make on the switch itself or can I just get copper wires and plug them into the special ports provided?

Many thanks
Yashy
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Question by:Yashy
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by:Don Johnston
Don Johnston earned 200 total points
ID: 36522267
>Is this worth it?

I think that it's better than what you have now.  Currently, traffic from a device on switch 6 destined for a device on switch 1 will have to cross all the inter-switch links and all switches.

A more traditional approach would be to have switches 2-6 connect directly to switch 1, it will minimize this. But at the cost of a single point of failure (switch 1).

Probably the best solution would be to have switches 1 and 2 be your (interconnected) distribution layer switches and then connect all the other switches to both switch 1 and 2.
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by:chakko
ID: 36522277
Using copper UTP cabling for links between switches is fine.  If you have long distances between switches (100 meters or more) then you may need Fiber Optic cables.  Or if your switches are only 100 MB ports then using copper UTP cables may limit the inter-connection speed to only 100MB.

Normally, I prefer Switch1 to be the main switch and then the other switches all connect to Switch1.

It depends on your network layout and any reasons why you want to do it differently (connecting the switches together).  

You shouldn't have to do anything special, unless you have VLANS configured or some other configuration where specific switch ports need to be connected in a certain way.  If you only have 1 big logical network (1 IP address range) then you should be able to just connect the switches together.

With the number of ports you have then you probably have more than 1 network and you should map it out first (if it is not documented already) before re-connecting the switches differently.
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by:Yashy
ID: 36522305
Thanks for the prompt response guys.

We currently only have one network at the moment, but we do plan to have VLANS put in place in the next month or so. Currently there isn't any.

Then by the sound of it, it's worth reconfiguring the wiring but should I just stick to ethernet instead?
All of the switches are in one server room.
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chakko earned 300 total points
ID: 36522375
Yes go ahead and rewire, ethernet is fine for what you describe.

I would recommend you write down which links you are changing, just in case you need to undo the wiring changes for whatever unknown things that may be going on (eg.  some configuration in the switches which you don't know about).

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Author Closing Comment

by:Yashy
ID: 36522669
Thanks so much peeps.
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