Network upgrade
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Thread: Network upgrade

  1. #1
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    Network upgrade

    I've been asked to put together a proposal for replacing hubs with switches at a branch office. I need 2 different solutions to the following situation:

    * The company has a branch location still using an Ethernet hub network. Congestion issues are getting to be a serious problem as more and more services are being added to the network.Currently each of the four floors has one or more hubs in a wiring closet supporting 30-35 computers except the ground floor, which has 65 computers.

    *The four floors plug into an 8-port switch that was added earlier to reduce the congestion problems. While that solution was a major improvement it cannot keep up all of the time anymore. The Two servers and router to the internet also connect to the 8-port switch.

    *The Branch cabling is relatively new and certified to category 5 standards. The company is not interested in any major cabling changes at this time.

    *At least 75% of the 160 current workstations have NICs with 10/100, full duplex capabilities. All Laptop computers have newer NICs. All new machines include similar NICs.

    *Need to consider what should be done with the existing switch. Are there higher bandwidth options for connecting the two servers?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance....

  2. #2
    Just Another Geek
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    Most of our servers are on 100Mbit. But some of the more heavier loaded ones are on 1000Mbit.

    I would place one or more managed 10/100Mbit switches on each floor. Cat.5 is max. 100Mbit and should be enough for the client PCs. Use 1000Mbit fibre to connect all the switches to a central switch/router. This would involve a little recabling for the fibre but it's well worth it.

    As for types of switches, if budget permits go for something like the Cisco Catalist 4/5/6000 series. These come in different sizes and will allow you to add blades when needed. You can segment your network using VLANs (I'd go for a VLAN per floor) to keep your broadcast domains in check..
    Oliver's Law:
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

  3. #3
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    So just replace each hub with a 8-port switch on all floors?

  4. #4
    Just Another Geek
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    How are you going to connect 30-35 computers to one 8 port switch?

    I'm talking about an (at least) 48 port switch for each floor. Perhaps switches with even more ports so your network is able to grow.
    Oliver's Law:
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

  5. #5
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    Change all the hubs out on each floor with a higher end manged switch, use a cat 4/5/6000 series router as a central point for all the network. segment each floor into its own vlan. switch everything to atleast 100Mb full duplex, upgrade the cards that are not capable of this speed. Then if possible use a program like solarwinds to monitor all switches and servers, look for bottle necks and if needed set up a second switch at that point for load balancing. also use something like snort to monitor traffic and for early warning of malware infections. As usual keep everything up to date.
    Everyone is going to die, I am just as good of a reason as any.

    http://think-smarter.blogspot.com

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the feedback. Does anyone know a good site with detailed specs and pricing of switches? I'm more interested in comparing specific switches in terms of price and performance

  7. #7
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    Everyone is going to die, I am just as good of a reason as any.

    http://think-smarter.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Just Another Geek
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    Solarwinds is nice for monitoring. Other options to monitor your bandwidth usage are MRTG and NRG.
    Oliver's Law:
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

  9. #9
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    How many switches am I looking at all up? and will this upgrade raise any security concerns?

  10. #10
    Just Another Geek
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    Lets see.. 1 48-port for each floor. 2 48-ports for the ground floor. 1 12-ports for your servers (you're probably going to add servers in the near future). Connect all these and your Internet router to a 12-ports switch. All switches are managed ofcourse. Layer3 if possible.

    That makes 6 48-port switches and 2 12-port switches.
    Unless the ground floor is one of the four floors. Then it would be 5 48-port switches.

    Security concerns? Not really, it'll improve that's for sure... Because you're getting rid of those hubs.. Any kid can monitor traffic on a hub. It's slightly more complicated on a switch (but not impossible!).
    Oliver's Law:
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

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