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bandwidth and Hardware top ?

Posted on 2013-07-02
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Last Modified: 2013-07-22
inherited a setup whwere a unmanged switch 24 port is plugged to a port back to main server switch(managed) about 250 feet away.  The 24 port is servicing a set of new offices for some managers.  about five people with IP  phones and Computers.  All users from this loc vpn over a ipsec tunnel for voice since the phone system is over the WAN.    They are expierencing some issues at this new suite of offices especially during the month where they're work flow increasing.. phones going in, out, outlook exchange connections reportedly dropping an things just slowing down.   Looking for ways to work through improving this setup.  

1. QoS on the bandwidth on the firewall for the voip traffic.  Voip traffic isn't on it's own vlan or anything but there are some setting that can be set on the traffic.
2. Most imporantly, i'm wondering if it would be good to spend money on the idea/no brainer to change the 24 port switch to a managed switch too?

Thank you.
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Question by:dee30
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by:Paul MacDonald
Paul MacDonald earned 100 total points
ID: 39293111
You don't mention what the throughput on the unmanaged switch is, nor what the uplink speed is.  That aside, you'll almost certainly be better off if you know what traffic is flowing across the switch, so you can make a better decision.

I would sniff the traffic to see what is consuming bandwidth.  While it certainly makes sense to segregate the VoIP traffic, it may be you simply need to set a company policy against watching YouTube videos during working hours.
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by:Bill Bach
Bill Bach earned 400 total points
ID: 39295451
I would add a few more things to look at.  First, how did you measure the distance?  Remember that 100M is the maximum distance for a UTP cable.  While this is 300 feet, it includes the entire cable length, not just the floor length.  Further, the more connections you have (i.e. patch panels) in the line, the more noise is introduced and the more attenuation you'll have.    Further, low-quality cabling or bad termination reduce distance even more.

I believe you'll find a problem with the cable between the two.  Unfortunately, an unmanaged switch will simply give you no details on packet loss, port errors, etc., so you're kind of flying blind.  Further, using a network analyzer to look at the data traffic is difficult, too, since you cannot enable port mirroring at all.

Best suggestion:  Spend a few bucks on a low-cost, web-managed switch.  I've used the HP ProCurve with good results, and their 24-port switch was very inexpensive (I think under $500).  Then, look at your error stats, or try an analyzer and see if you see retransmissions and other problems clearly visible there.

Also, depending on the exact distance, and on any interference sources between the two locations, you may want to consider a fiber connection.  The ProCurve switch I have supports two mini-GBICs, too.  Again, it raises the price, but pretty much guarantees that the traffic is clean.
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Author Comment

by:dee30
ID: 39295831
Bilbach thx for the insights to various consideration.  This what I was looking for.  The fiber drop is a thought I hadn't thought of.  Would it be as effective with a media convertor or better off with fiber port avail sw
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Author Comment

by:dee30
ID: 39295834
Itches?  I'm going to go thru u list of checks, while its a just a cat 6 cable run straight back to the main switch on the rack.  Thx
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Bill Bach earned 400 total points
ID: 39296394
Really, the main difference is cost. You might have reduced latency with the built-in interface, though, and latency causes jitter in VoIP calls.  The other advantage of a built-in GBIC is bandwidth -- you can use a gigabit speed uplink very easily. If your existing switch is 100mbps, then clearly a replacement is in order.
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by:dee30
ID: 39346771
thanks.
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