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I'm in the process of expanding my home network from a couple of laptops on a wireless Verizon FiOS router to include:

  • Linksys 24-port switch

  • Cisco Pix 515

  • Cisco 3640 router

  • One new development desktop and three new machines to act as a db server, web server and a backup system.

My company is moving offices and we've decommissioned some older hardware, which I was able to pick up for the cost of the labor to move it home from the office. The benefits to working with dedicated web and db servers are very valuable to me.

I know very little about network topology, other than that everything plugs into the switch, which then plugs into the cheap Verizon router. (Verizon provides a coax connection that the router must translate into Ethernet before I can use it with any of this equipment).


  1. What is the recommended topology for this equipment? Verizon router -> Pix -> 3600 -> switch? Is the 3600 even necessary or desirable?

  2. The Verizon router has one WAN port and 4 client ports, all 10/100. Is there any performance benefit at all to wiring multiple connections from the verizon router to the switch, assuming I don't use the Pix? Should I use the Pix? Software firewalls are a pain, and seem silly if I have a device like this lying around.

Anything else I should know? Am I wasting my time with this? I also obtained a 7 foot rack, shelves, patch panels, UPS, patch panels, etc, which are going into a conveniently air conditioned closet.

All constructive advice appreciated.

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closed as off topic by Bryan, Magellan, Iain Nov 25 '12 at 15:20

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Connect your pix to the Verizon router then the switch to the pix and servers to the switch. You don't need the 3600 router as Verizon already provide you a router.
Put the pix in transparent mode.

You will not get any better performance if you connect more than 1 cable between routers and switch unless your internet access is > 100mbits and the Verizon router support aggregation of Ethernet interface. The short answer is No. Use the pix if you need high security, for a home network with only 1 public IP you probably don't need it unless you want to filter traffic going on Internet.

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That's exactly what I needed. I may be able to get Ethernet coming straight from the optical terminator (bypassing the coax), in which case I might plug up the 3600 just to play with it. I want the pix in place because the software firewall I've been using is constantly interfering with some internal apps I have running, and I don't want to have to maintain that on 6 different machines. Thanks! – David Lively Feb 1 '10 at 1:53

Here's what your network schematic will basically look like. The Router could either be Verizon's router, or your Cisco one. If you use the Verizon one, it sounds like there'll be an extra eth2coax box between the Fiber2Copper and the Router with a coax cable between it and the router.

Lots of modern consumer routers will combine the Router/Switch components into a single box.

( 1ntern3ts ) ------+
                    | <-- external interface on router
                    |          *all cat5*
              *cat5*|          [ Switch ]       [Pr0n Server]
                    |           | | | |             |
                    |           | | | +-------------+
                    +-----------+ | +----------------[xBox 360]
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What is a 1ntern3ts and all that other gibberish? Something wrong with your keyboard? – John Gardeniers Mar 8 '10 at 6:26
Yes. I got 1337 all over it. – jdizzle Mar 8 '10 at 14:55
I don't know what that means but I really hope you grow out of it. – John Gardeniers Mar 9 '10 at 7:45
Hopefully I'll grow up into a joyless curmudgeon who downvotes younguns on web forums for having too much fun. And being on my lawn. – jdizzle Mar 10 '10 at 4:13

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