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Two connections to the same switch?

Posted on 2013-02-01
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Last Modified: 2013-02-02
Hi.  
Please look at the attached jpg.  This is a simplified diagram of my client's network layout between 2 buildings, where there are Windows servers in one building, and PC's in the next building.  Without going in to the gory details, they want to have a second "backup" Cat6 line, in case the current line dies.

Simply put, can there be two connections between the same network switches?  In this case, these are "unmanaged" switches (or "dumb switches" as we call them).

I say "no", but I'm a programmer not a network guy ...
Will this cause some sort of problem?  I think they can do this with a "managed" switch, but not an "unmanaged" switch.

Thanks
Cat5.jpg
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Question by:Rob Rudloff
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8 Comments
 
LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:choward16980
choward16980 earned 30 total points
ID: 38845283
Unmanaged, you will create an uplink loop.  It will work, but like a sick mule.
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LVL 5

Assisted Solution

by:jake77444
jake77444 earned 50 total points
ID: 38845326
If the switch has "Spanning Tree Protocol" then you should be fine.  Otherwise, I would not recommend this unless you want to cause major problems.
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LVL 13

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by:
Ugo Mena earned 200 total points
ID: 38845341
not going to work.

On unmanaged switches you will essentially create a loop. The loop creates broadcast radiation as broadcasts and multicasts are forwarded by switches out every port, the switch or switches will repeatedly rebroadcast the broadcast messages flooding the network. Spanning Tree Protocol prevents this, but not likely a feature on an unmanaged switch.

On a managed switch, link aggregation combines (aggregating) multiple network connections in parallel to increase throughput beyond what a single connection could sustain, and to provide redundancy in case one of the links fails.
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LVL 26

Assisted Solution

by:Fred Marshall
Fred Marshall earned 20 total points
ID: 38845353
You might ask: Is this bit of network redundundancy for extremely brief failures of the main link?  Or is it for when an excavator rips out the line?

I can well imagine the latter.  In that case, install the cable with plugs and all but don't plug it in.  Then do backup tests periodically to prove everything is still viable.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 38845442
fmarshall:  That is exactly the case here, but they wanted failover to be automatic (They are trying to avoid relying on the workers in Building #2 to remember what a Cat6 cable is, what to unplug, what to plug in , etc.)

ultralites:  Thanks for putting that into the real terminology for us -- what we were picturing was a storm of data packets echo-ing and reverberating, or "feedback" like a microphone at a loud concert.
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 38845795
Well then, keep it plugged in in Bldg 2.  Unplug it at the other end.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Ugo Mena
ID: 38845853
Excellent advice fmarshall!
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 38846828
Thanks.  The other option might be to plug it in and disable the switch port that it plugs into.  The reconnection is a bit more "techie" and you may not want that.
But, if you can find a way to run a script that anyone can run then it might work.
One script to switch to backup (open one port, block another)
One script to do the opposite.
Also would allow the backup test to be run remotely.

Sorry that I don't know how to do that.  It's going to be switch-dependent, etc.
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