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Are my 10/100 small switches slowing my network down?

I have a general question about networks and switches.  My network wiring is newer (installed 4 years ago) and is all cat6. I have DSL, the modem goes into a SonicWall TZ210 (about  1 ½ years old.) That then is connected to an older Dell PowerConnect 2748 managed switch. Our server is a newer Dell PowerEdge T710 running Windows Server 2008 RS2. The switch is set to default and the managed light is green. From there most of the ports are home runs. The acceptation are four small Linksys EZXS55W 10/100 switches that are needed because there are not enough ports in those areas. The problem is at time it seems that the network lags. We are a small commercial printer with about 22 PC’s  and about 5 Macs and a number of large copiers. Our data file that we are moving or printing are large.

My question is two fold. I think I understand that an end device with a 10/100 NIC card would not slow the entire network down, but do the Linksys EZXS55W 10/100 switches slow it down?  Second, am I doing my network a disservice by using the older Dell PowerConnect 2748 managed switch vs. a newer more costly switch? Not that familiar with the inner workings of managed switches and how to utilize them.


Thanks ahead for any info or easy to read links!
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If the switch is 10/100 that's your bottleneck right there. Moving around large files internally would be better suited to gigabit, and if you have 20+ devices all using a 10/100 network you are going to find a drastic increase in performance going to a 10/100/1000 switch.

I don't believe that a single switch would cause the network to slow down (unless it's a hub) but my suggestion would be to invest in a good managed gigabit switch.

Sr.Net.Eng
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Top Expert 2011
Commented:
When you state "network lags" there can be many factors. Network performance experience is similar to a vehicle. Every part of it affects the final output of performance. The same goes for networks. Now you can update the switches and that will definitely improve your network performance, but if you recall OSI, it works all the way from the wire to the application. Thus, where you improve your Layer 1-3, the upper layers are still untouched.

Off the soapbox. Get rid of the cheap 5 porters and the old dell, invest in at least Gigabit for your core switch, but gigabit would be better. Remember switch performance based on it's back plane speeds, not it's interface speeds so cheap gigabit switches won't necessarily improve things.
Dan PurcellManager

Author

Commented:
The Dell PowerConnect 2748 managed switch is a gigabit switch, it's just older and cheap! I've read of back plane being very important. It will be easy to replace the small 5 port 10/100's. What would you recomend for (brand and model) for my managed switch? Hopefully under $700.00 to $1000.00.

As for OSI recall, don't even know what that is!! :) We have 18 employee's, I seem to know the most about computers, thus IT is one of my many hats. I will bring in a third party but I like to have a little understanding before.

Thanks again
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
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Top Expert 2011

Commented:
If you just bought a used Cisco 3750 or 3560, you would see a huge improvement. You could also look into comparable HP and other Dell models.
Hi,

Which parts of the system seem slow - access to Internet or local systems connected to the LAN?
Commented:
I believe the old Dell switch is not the issue, but the small switches that has max limit of 100 Mb. Replace them with simple unmanaged Gb switches, and that will be the cheapest solution to solve your problem.

Backplan bandwith is not so important for your small enviroment, an old switch will in general have more than enough bandwith in the backplane for so small enviroment.
Dan PurcellManager

Author

Commented:
I've got a vender coming in today to run an analyzation on the network. I will for sure change the small switches.

Thanks

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