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Do network switches reduce signal

Posted on 2012-03-31
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Last Modified: 2012-03-31
The assumption is that there is a signal leaving the server which has a gigabit network card and going to a 24 port gigabit network switch. From the switch the signal goes directly to computers as well as other gigabit switches. I would like a way to estimate the amount of signal that reaches the final client pc after it has left the server and passed through a number of switches. Does the switch emit a gigabit through each of the 24 ports or is it shared? Does the signal gets reduced as it moves from switch to switch? Thanks.
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Question by:trinisteve
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gmbaxter earned 250 total points
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Consider the distance limit of 100m for copper cable. You don't really need to worry about signal loss up to that limit.

A server with a 1Gb connection will provide 1 Gbit to any client in the switch at any one time. It can not possibly provide 24 x 1Gb connections, as it only has a 1Gb uplink.

This compares to a hub which will divide the 1Gbit by the number of connected devices in the switch, so no client will have 1Gb connection. Hubs are quite old now - you probably wouldn't find a 1Gb one today.

If you're looking at ensuring optimal available bandwidth, you should:

Consider using link aggregation at the server and core switch to provide multiple physical links into the core from the server. Two 1Gbit links will give you a 2 Gbit link which will continue to operate at 1Gb if a connection fails.

You can also improve bandwidth between switches by stacking them if they support it, or if not - use link aggregation as mentioned above, but for linking switches together.

You can also consider using 10Gb ethernet, and fibre to increase the available bandwidth in your network.
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by:awaggoner
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Switches regenerate the signal, they don't pass along the original signal.

This is a way to get past the 100m limit.  You can daisy chain a small switch to end up with more than 100m.
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by:awaggoner
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With a 24 port gigabit switch, each port offers a full 1gb.  The backplane all the switches connect to has much more than 1GB capacity.  The speed of the backplane differs between switch models.  You should be able to check the manufacturers specs to determine the backplane information.
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 50 total points
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@awaggoner is right, "Switches regenerate the signal, they don't pass along the original signal."  Each port on a switch is a mini network card with it's own receive and transmit circuits.
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