Staged Gigabit Upgrade

Hello,

I have a client with about 30 computers.  Upgrading technology hasn't been a priority at this location for a few years, but we're working to bring things "up to speed" so to speak.  

The network infrastructure consists of a Cisco RV042 VPN router (with a 4 port 10/100 switch), a Cisco/Linksys small business series unmanaged 24 port 10/100 switch, and two 5 port 10/100 workgroup switches (Cisco small business series as well if memory serves).  

The cabling infrastructure is decent but I'm not sure if it's cat5 or cat5e.  I need to check it to be sure.  

The computers are a mix (about half/half) of older Windows XP workstations with 10/100 cards and some newer Windows 7 workstations with 10/100/1000 cards and a server with two 10/100/1000 cards (only one is active).  

One of the workgroup switches bit the dust and needs to be replaced.  I'm considering upgrading this network to Gigabit but will have to do it in stages because of limited funds.  My question is, since I need to get a new workgroup switch, should I replace it with a gigabit switch?  

Are the less expensive unmanaged gigabit switches (like a Netgear or similar) capable of negotiating slower speeds where the infrastructure isn't capable of it or am I asking for trouble dropping a Gigabit switch in there?  

What are your real-world experiences with this?  Do you have any recommendations on switches?  

I look forward to your responses.    

Thanks!
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ttist25Asked:
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avcontrolConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you don't do much file transfers within LAN, then no need to be concern much.
Your bottleneck will your ISP anyway.
So, yes it is good have 1Gig port on all hardware withing your LAN, but all "better" speed will come with the price.
I would assume , that unless you have high demand for better speed, no need to overkill.
Looks like you can look up 48 1Gig port switch(L2 or L3 depends on your budget).
There can be many design question, and you might want read more detailed on(Figure: Typical VLAN topology)

http://docwiki.cisco.com/wiki/Internetwork_Design_Guide_--_Designing_Switched_LAN_Internetworks#Designing_Switched_LAN_Internetworks

and many others

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns816/networking_solutions_program_home.html

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/solutions/Enterprise/Branch/G2_Services/G2srmdbrnt.pdf

there is just to many ways to do it, and it will varied greatly on details, what you need now, plans for expantion and so on.
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rauenpcConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Unmanaged switches still negotiate speed/duplex without issue. The unmanaged part just lowers your options in terms of configuration - these will be flat switches only, so no vlans, security options, insight in to the network like port counters, etc. You also won't be able to hard code any ports to a specific speed/duplex.
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ttist25Author Commented:
Thanks guys and sorry for the delay with accepting.  

I ended up using a couple of Netgear ProSafe 5 and 8 port GigaBit workgroup switches.  I did speed tests prior to and post install and saw huge increases.  

The cabling was all Cat5e.
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avcontrolCommented:
Cool.
P.S.
In mine personal option, if you not close to length limitation (330 feet), and about no more then half of mx= around 150 feet, then any CAT5 should support 1Gig.
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