How can I integrate a new fibre backbone into existing CAT5 network?

Our school's network is currently cabled with CAT5, and includes 4 data cabinets with 10/100 switches.  One of the cabinets houses the school's internet connection.  Over the summer, we had a contractor link all data cabinets with "8 core MM fibre", terminating in a new comms room.  I've never dealt with fibre before.  The school can't afford to upgrade all of its switches to ones with SFP slots just yet (or purchase media converters).  But, I need to move our two servers to the new comms room now, so we will need to purchase at least two switches with SFP.

My first question is - why would the contractor have run 8-core from each data cabinet? Surely 2 would have been enough?  Should I actually use all 8 cables in each case or use only some?

My second question is, what switches I now need to buy.  I'm guessing I need to replace one of the 10/100 24-port switches with a gigabit switch which has SFP slots so that I can connect that cabinet to the new comms room.  But in the comms room, where all fibre runs terminate, what kind of device should I buy to connect those?  I'm guessing some kind of switch with a lot of SFP ports.  Can anyone suggest/recommend such a device?

Thanks in advance.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
He gave you room for expansion you may not use all of the cores right now but down the road you can expand at minimal cost.  The cable installation is usually the highest cost.  Keep the caps on the unused fiber connectors as an unused fiber connection exposed to air becomes contaminated rather quickly.  Right now you need one switch that is fiber capable from your ingress point to your comms room and then you can use regular cable

A network diagram would be helpful (a picture is worth 1000 words)

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mark_D74Author Commented:
Thanks David,

Here's the plan as it currently stands and some extra questions that occurred to me.

As you can see, Computer room 1's fibre patch is connected to an extra fibre patch panel in Computer room 2 rather than directly to the comms room.  Am I right in thinking I can just connect a pair of ports on these two panels to complete the connection between computer room 2 and the comms room? (shown by red dotted line in diagram)

Am I right in saying that only 1 of the 8 cores should be used at any one time to connect a data cabinet's SFP switch with the main SFP switch in the comms room?

I think I can work out which 24 port gigabit switch with SFP ports I should get for each data cabinet. But into what kind of device in the comms room should each be ultimately connected?  Can you suggest a make/model?

Thanks for your help with this!
mark_D74Author Commented:

I'm now thinking of getting a TP-Link TL-SG5412F.  This has 12 SFP slots plus 4 10/100/1000 RJ45.

 I've only two concerns:
1.  Is this suitable to serve as the LAN's backbone in the comms room? It will be connected via fibre to 7 other switches in cabinets dotted around the school.

2.  This costs less than €300/$393, but is it actually high enough quality and durability for a LAN with 2 servers and 100 PCs, or should I be opting for something meatier, perhaps from Cisco?

I've attached a much more simplified diagram to try illustrate what I'm doing.

Network diagram (fibre only)
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
yes that router/switch should be sufficient.. I was curious as to why the principal and the secretary had their own switch..
First, you will probably prefer to use 2 core out of the 8. One core for transmit, and one for receive. Although there are SFP available that can do both receive and transmit on a single core, these are more expensive than SFP that use two cores.

Next, you should consider if you want to run 1G or 10G Ethernet on the fiber. Obviously 10G switches and SFP are more expensive - but it is good use of the fiber. The choice will depend on what traffic you have and expect. If you have 1G copper now, and change to 1G fiber, you will not see much benefit. In that case media converters might be a good option.

Personally I would chose Juniper EX2200 for 1G fiber links, and EX3300 for 10G fiber links. These switches has 4 SFP slots each.Obviously they cost a bit more than the TP, but it also means it will work and that you can count on good support. The exact models will depend on the number of ports you need everywhere; 12, 24 or 48.
Aaron TomoskySD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
Remember to plan for the cost of each optical module for the switch as those are extra.
TimotiStDatacenter TechnicianCommented:
Choice of switch depends on the budget, the TP-Links are pretty cheap but usually come with fairly good warranty (3-5 years). I've only used their SoHo gear so far, but they never died on me (yet). I'd assume the smb/budget-enterprise versions are even better.

If you can afford it, Juniper is nice, especially since you already have the SRX. Is there any actual need for that Sonicwall behind the SRX?

mark_D74Author Commented:
Firstly, thanks David, Pergr, Aaron and TimotiSt for your help.

@ David - The switches are just located in those offices, they serve nearby classrooms

@ TimotiSt - I've no access to the Juniper SRX, I think it belongs to the department of education.

While I've had good experiences with TP-Link unmanaged switches, when it comes to Vlans, fibre, etc., I think I'd feel safer sticking with established brands with good reputations/backup.  

I've more or less decided to get these:

Main switch for comms room:Cisco SG300-10SFP-K9-UK
Other (POE) switches for around the school:
Cisco SG200-50P
Cisco SG200-26P (SLM2024PT-UK)
Transceivers:Cisco MGBSX1 gigabit 1000base-sx

I understand that since it's multimode fibre, we're limited to gigabit. However we're upgrading from 10/100 with many bottlenecks so it's bound to be a big improvement.  I'm somewhat surprised that Cisco were amongst the most affordable

Thanks again for everyones input and if you think I'm making a mistake with anything on the above shopping list, it's not too late to shout!
Aaron TomoskySD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
If you only need sfp @ 1gbps, that's a good choice for the price, especially if you are comfortable with cisco.

If you want sfp+ @ 10gbps uplinks on a 48port gigabit switch, that's a different story, those are about $3k each.
If you don't know cisco, I can recommend some brocade stuff, the cli is really similar anyways
the icx 6450-48P is stackable and has 4xsfp+ uplinks

the icx 6430-48p has sfp uplinks, but it's only a little bit less expensive than the 6450 so it's hard to recommend against a sub $1k cisco
TimotiStDatacenter TechnicianCommented:
@Aaron: while I personally love Brocade, they're virtually nonexistent on the Ethernet market in Europe. The nearest office is in the UK, they don't have a field office in Ireland I think.

Mark, the SG is cheap(er) because it's basically "Linksys by Cisco", just rebranded now that Cisco's sold off Linksys. But they're decent, I've been using them in a dorm to support an Aruba wireless deployment without issues for almost 2 years now, and used the (almost same) Linksys SRW series for years elsewhere.

If you need a hand with the deployment, let me know, I'm in D8. :)
Keep in mind that those so called Cisco switches are not running Cisco IOS software, but something else.

As mentioned, it is possible an OEM switch from Linksys, and running what ever OS they make, or an OEM from somewhere else.
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