As we expanded throughout the building we now own completely, offices were physically disconnected. This was back when 10Mbps was still usable, and there were printers and workstations acting as fileservers and whatnot in each office suite. Thus it was simple to just run a single 100Mbps line from the primary switch to a switch in one of the disconnected suites. Isolating traffic per suite was somewhat beneficial, and it was easy to tie into the existing network in each suite (if it existed).
This pattern continued, and we now have 9 switches. The bulk of the machines in the building are on a big, quality switch, and then there are little cheapo switches in each of the "suites" which no longer technically exist.
As it stands now, there is absolutely no reason to have departments on separate switches since all traffic is going through the big switch regardless of where it starts out. Thus I've just got potentially worse performance (not an issue yet) and more failure points.
I'm considering collapsing the whole thing slowly over time when I have the need to pull cable. So let's say I've got 10 drops in a particular "suite", I'll need to pull ten cables over from the primary switch. Do I patch into the wall drops with a regular patch panel, or is there a special kind of patch panel for what is essentially "splicing" (that is, I'd have a run from patch panel to patch panel to wall jack). Do I consider pulling out the old drops and pulling the new lines directly to the wall plate?
Other than looking bad and a cheapo switch occasionally giving me grief, I'm not sure that there is a compelling reason to change things. In a few weeks I have to pull some cable, and that's the only reason I thought about this. What are your thoughts?