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what is limit on network switches?

By ppoll ·
What is the limit on how many switches I can have on my network before performance will suffer? They keep stuffing more and more employees and printers in our small office building. It was not originally wired for so many users, so I've added some switchs so a few users can share one network jack. Right now I have 8 switches, and I may need to add some more. Could this be causing problems?

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by sgt_shultz In reply to what is limit on network ...

depends on how they are plugged into each other. the rule of thumb is you can cascade 3. what kind of problems are you experiencing? get lots of ports in any new switches

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by razz2 In reply to what is limit on network ...

If you are using Ethernet then the rule is 5-4-3- That is
that the maximum distance between 2 nodes is 5
network segments, with 4 repeaters, and only 3
segments are populated with nodes. All this while
watching the cable distance rules.

The old 5-4-3 rules does not apply to fast Ethernet.
Most will tell you that it is a max of 2 hops from one
node to another (3 switches max). The truth is it
deppends on topology, the OSI layer the switch works
on and most importantly the distance.

You said small office building. How many drops? Are
you running eight 8 port switches, or 24 port? It sounds
like you added a small switch to a wall jack. That would
be fine in most cases, but think about hops. In a star
topology there is one switch (call it switch 1) that
uplinks to 7 others (call them 2 - and you may be
fine. A workstation on switch 6 trying to connect to the
server, wich should be on switch 1, would hit only one
hop. With Firewalls, Servers and Printers on switch 1
you would be ok.

If you have switch 1 connected to switch 2 which then
goes to switch 3 etc then you have issues.

Simply answer is hops & distance. Also consider going
to larger switches or stackable ones. A stackable switch
allows you to connect multiple switches together so
they appear as one switch.

Hope it helps,


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by jolson In reply to what is limit on network ...

In reply to the stacking switchs with a backplane, this solution only works well if that is our backbone, or centeral switch network. Do not stack switchs at the edge of the network, or in other words. By bigger switchs at your wall jack end, if neceesary, not multiple switches. However, back in your network room, where all the wall jacks go to, by all means look at either large switches or stackable switches. The key thing to look at on the data sheet is the internat throughput speed.

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