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We have a managed switch that has been installed by phone engineers as part of our new IP phone system.

The switch in question is a Nortel 2550T-PWR

Ethernet Routing Switch 2550T-PWR with 24 10/100 ports (12 ports support PoE), 2 combo 10/100/1000/SFP ports, 2 1000BaseT rear ports and 46cm stack cbl, with stacking pre-enabled. Incl Base S/w Lic Kit. [RoHS 6/6 compliant].

The PoE ports are used for the IP phones and the rest of for workstations that are not daisy chained to the IP phones.

I am using (after some expert advise) the two gigabit ports to connect our two servers. One is our domain controller and the other is a unix server running our patient management system.

I was wondering what the 'official' purpose of the gigabit ports actually are? Are they for exactly what I'm using them for, servers? Should they be reserved for daisy chaining other switches to stack them up?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Typically they would be used for the trunks, either back to a server that most of the ports would be going to so there is extra bandwidth, or to daisy chain multiple switches together. If most of the ports that are 100Mbit go back to a central server a lot, the 10x bandwidth on the trunk means that 10 of those ports can theoretically use that trunk with no slow down.

Edit: As Alex pointed out there is nothing saying what these ports need to go to, what I said is just the typical use. If you have 1 computer that needs the bandwidth then feel free to use that port for that computer instead of a trunk or server.

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I had the same setup with two 3Com switch, I used them in Nic teaming as a link between two server rooms.

They aren't "reserved" for anything. Since most manage switch will allow you to select what port you want to use as a trunk.

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Typically if you have a 100Mbit switch with two 1Gbit ports the "intention" is that you'll use those as an uplink / backhaul to your (theoretically gigabit) switch core, but as a practical matter they can be used for anything requiring the extra bandwidth. – voretaq7 Apr 12 '11 at 18:26
When you say 'switch core' would that just be one switch that only has switches connected to it? – dannymcc Apr 12 '11 at 18:32

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