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Most Efficient Patching Method

Posted on 2013-11-06
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Last Modified: 2013-11-11
I'm wondering about the most efficient patching method in a situation where I have two switches and one router. We're not doing anything fancy like stacks with the switches, and neither of them is technically a core switch, they both handle traffic to workstations.

For efficiency sake, which is the most efficient way to patch these switches?

IE: Router <-> Switch A <-> Switch B

Or Switch A <-> Router <-> Switch B
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Question by:Azra Lyndsey
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Nick Rhode earned 250 total points
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Patching a router like updating firmware and such can take down the router so have a backup router and export the configs just to be safe.  Of course with the router down you lose your internet so only internal would work so then it would depend on who is attached to which switch and who will be less affected.

Overall for a small environment I would follow your 1st method but in all honesty the results will typically be the same.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
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Given your "diagram" I assume you mean patching as in connecting the devices to each other - not updating firmware or anything like that.

If that's the case, then I'd say it doesn't matter for that size network ASSUMING the devices are all 10/100 and NOT a mix of 10/100 and 10/100/1000.  USUALLY, the router will not have gigabit ports while the switches (if they're anywhere near new) are probably gigabit or at least have a couple of gigabit ports.  In which case, I would connect the switches to each other to ensure gigabit throughput between them and the router to one of the switches.
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by:Azra Lyndsey
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Thanks for the input, everybody.  I've sent this to a number of network engineers and the interesting thing is, nobody seems to agree, ha!

I think the final answer is that it really depends on the priorities of performance.  For this particular company, they have a lot of really heavy internal traffic.  Large files, databases, etc.  They also do a lot of video conferencing and whatnot.  

After doing a bit of testing, we were able to get the best overall performance with Router > Switch > Switch.  The router's CPU and RAM weren't as heavily taxed and even runs cooler, internal file transfers also seem to run faster (this router does have Gib ports).  

However, we do have a single point of failure issue now... I guess we'll just have to hope that the first switch doesn't go kaput.
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