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Network Switch Connections

Posted on 2016-11-30
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Last Modified: 2016-12-01
Hello Experts

I have 4 unmanaged gigabit switches on the network.   We will call them #1, #2, #3 and "servers switch".  

All 5 servers are connected to the "servers switch"

Switch #1 connects to switch #2, and switch #2 connects to switch #3.  The "servers switch" is connected to switch #2.

Firewall connects to switch #3.

All workstations and network devices connect to either switch #1, #2 or #3.

The server's roles are two are file servers, two are domain controllers one of which runs license managers for various programs, and a server that stores misc data.  Users access the file servers for all data.

Is this the best configuration for connecting the switches?  Is there a better way to connect them?

Thank you,
cja
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Question by:cja-tech-guy
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Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
ID: 41907858
As-is, communication to the firewall might be going from PC -> #1 -> server switch -> #2 -> #3 -> Internet, and back. This is considered to be the maximum of switches you should have between two devices (PC and firewall here) at all times.

The best layout for nested switches is to have as least levels then possible. All switches should be connected to a singe switch, the server switch here.
If you can build groups with significant local traffic between the members, those members should be on the same switch; this is usually only feasible if you have departments without much of interaction. A central, heavy in use file server defeats that concept, of course.

So your server(s) and router(s) and switches should all be connected to the main switch ("server"), and other devices not doing much of communication between them each put on switches #1, #2 or #3.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Predrag Jovic earned 500 total points
ID: 41907859
If in the same rack typically you would want something like this:
SwitchAnd typically you would connect servers to aggregation switch (named server switch).
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Expert Comment

by:CompProbSolv
ID: 41907864
I'm assuming that nearly all traffic on your network is between workstations and the servers and between computers (workstations and servers) and the internet, that the switches don't allow bonding of connections, and that there's no preference to which workstations connect to specific servers or to the internet.

Ideally, all devices would connect to the same switch (or to bridged switches) so that there is no sharing of a single connection by multiple devices.  I'm assuming that this isn't possible with your existing hardware.

With that in mind, I'd connect all servers and the firewall to the Server Switch and connect Switches 1, 2, and 3 to the Server Switch.  I'd spread out the workstations on Switches 1, 2, and 3 such that there's reasonably equal use of the network between the devices on all 3.

The issue here is that when you connect two switches together, the devices on one switch share the bandwidth of the single connection.  In your configuration all devices are sharing a single connection to the servers.  In my configuration it is split into 3 different ones.

There are similar issues with how internet access is done in your configuration.

How many workstations are there?  Is it impractical to purchase an adequate switch for all of them?
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Author Closing Comment

by:cja-tech-guy
ID: 41907903
Simple, easy to follow answer.

Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
ID: 41907945
You really think a simple image is the best answer, without explanation?
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Author Comment

by:cja-tech-guy
ID: 41908608
Yes.  I was looking for the best way to connect the switches and the image showed me that.  

Thanks,
cja
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
ID: 41908683
You should always look into why to do something the way shown ...
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Author Comment

by:cja-tech-guy
ID: 41908696
I really don't know what you want me to say.  I looked at the diagram and it made sense to me.  If there is a way to split the points, then please contact a site admin. It is fine with me.  

cja
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