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Switching Network Design Help Needed

I have 4 48 port patch bays and 1 24 port patch bay for a total of 216 ports.

I need to provide gigabit switching.

I can not afford switches costing over $1000 each.

How should I design this, what equipment would you suggest and how would you set it up?
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I would work out how many items are important , and get the best switch I could afford for them. Make that the 'core' and then run cheaper switches (unmanaged if necessary) off of the core.

That way you can then upgrade the network by replacing the cheaper switched while having a good core to run any vlans or such that you may need.

Myself I like 3Com kit always have, but Cisco may be a better long term bet.
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Each of the 4 48 port patch bays represent one of the 4 floors of the building and each port is a home run back to a RJ45 jack in a classroom.

Every jack in the building needs to be active and connected to switching to allow access to all other resources in the building. Printers, servers, etc.

I cant buy a single core switch and then add on. I need to get everything switched.

So far the only solution I have found is Netgear gigabit stackable switches.

Fair point, I had assumed it was all in one cabinet.

I have played with a few of the netgear boxes, not bad, and I feel good value for money.

However the server room with the 24 ports should still have the best switch, as it's going to be dealing with the traffic on the network that passes through the floor switch and on to a service run in the server room.

Again if you can't afford to do all the switches now, get as many good ones as you can and upgrade the rest when you have budget (use the temporay switches as cold spares in case of switch failure)


If you're on a budget, the look at the Cisco Small Business Range of Switches.

You will still need 6 switches.

4x 48 Port + Uplink
1x 24 Port + Uplink

And another 24 port to act as a core if all the switches are not in a central location. This is the best way to do it without creating any network rings or loops and should give you everything you want within budget.

The Cisco Small Business SGE series are also stackable.
All of the switches are in the same rack, same location. Sorry for any confusion. Ill have the Sonicwall and modem in the same rack as well.

I have been considering the Netgear stackable switches as seen at:

They are stackable, affordable, but the manual shows a troubling limitation that, frankly, doesn't make much sense to me:

"The system supports up to six stacking members per stack to a maximum of 192 ports, or devices  can operate as standalone systems."

This is obviously a big issue. The Netgear units use HDMI ports for 10Gbps speeds between switches which is certainly preferable to the 1Gbps bottleneck I would get from simple daisy-chaining.

I need to dig deeper in to the manuals of the Cisco switches to see if they have a similar limit.

Does anybody have experience setting up and using the Cisco switches?

Any reasons to choose the Cisco switches over the Netgear switches?
The Cisco does have a similar limit. The 500 series switch has a 200 port limit. It also up links a 10GbE.

It looks like you would need to move up in class of switch. The Cisco 3750-X supports up to 9 units in the stack and meets your port requirements but not budget requirements.

The HP 2810's I don't think offers tacking in the same fashion.

There are Juniper or Force10 options but they're probably on a par price wise with the Cisco 3750-X
So its between the SOHO Netgear and the SOHO Cisco.

Which to get?

For under $600, there's this

Do you want these switches to uplink to a core network device or an internet connection?
Those HPs arent stackable. I would have to daisy chain 5 switches together bottlenecking them all down to 1Gbps.

I have a sonicwall that will connect to one of the switches, modem connects to that.
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Sorry Gordon, I didn't get this approach until eeRot explained it.

So the idea is to have 4 48 port giga switches, 1 for each patch bay, stacked or not, stacked better but in this design not critical, and then run port 48 from each of the 4 switches to ports 1 through 4 on the "core" 24 port switch and then have the sonicwall plugged in to that switch?

I like the design, but wouldn't that still throttle everything to 1Gbps, or just some ports?

If I were to do this, the 4 stackables would hit that magic 192 number, the max the netgears will do so that might work well.

What would you guys recommend for the switches, then, the Netgear, Cisco or HP?

What would you recommend for the core 24 port switch?

Thanks for the great advice.

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