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I have currently 3 switches Two Netgear JFS524 with 24 slots, One Belkin with 16 slots. Server DSL Internet Router.

Main question is how to connect switches together, two Netgear's are next to each other, yet one is about 100 feet away and holds about 5 computer and 5 phones.

If i connect them with only 1 wire will that limit bandwidth? e.g. all 23 computers will be limited to speed of one CAT5e cable?

If i connect switches with 2 cables will this give speed boost?

What's the ideal scenario should i just move the third switch next to other two?

  1. Will the speed of computer connected to white switch be same as computer connected to top switch?
  2. Will moving white switch right next top switch and having 16 wires comming 100 feet instead of 1 wire comming 100 feet make it faster?

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EDIT 1: I actually have NETGEAR ProSafe GS105 Gigabit switch its only has 4 ports in it though, you think i can have use of it in current setup?

Like connect all 3 switches and server into it and keep internet router and phone server on one of the slower switches

EDIT 2: Everyone mention gigabit switches, but will they do any difference with 10/100 network cards? I then have to use gigabit cards in every computer too? I could in server perhaps, but users will be 10/100

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Ideally you should replace all three switches with managed gigabit switches. –  Michael Hampton Oct 12 '12 at 23:52
    
well i could but my company on budget, what's the advantage anyway –  John Smith Oct 12 '12 at 23:54
    
What kind of phones are you using? Do they have a pass though port on them? –  Hugh Oct 13 '12 at 0:37
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The advantage is that your file server won't seem terribly slow, while it's actually the slow network. –  Michael Hampton Oct 13 '12 at 0:40
    
@Hugh IP Phones are Astra 9112i and Grandstream GPX2000 –  John Smith Oct 13 '12 at 0:44
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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

FIRST, if you can spend a bit of money, buy a good, fast 48-port GB switch. You want the faster "backplace" .. basically the speed limit inside the switch. I like this one for less than US$600. Plug everything into it. If the devices on the 100-ft switch are closer than 300 feet, plug them in as well, otherwise use a second switch out there.

This should make your little network perform just fine.

This switch is unmanaged and costs less than US$400. But being able to give the switch an IP and browse to it to see status, speed, etc. is well worth the money if you are having issues.

SECOND, if you just can't spend any money. Make the little GB switch the hub, and connect the three switches and the server into it. This will make the least number of hops between any two nodes. Get a GB card for the switch if you can.

THIRD, the specific answers to the specific questions.

If i connect them with only 1 wire will that limit bandwidth? e.g. all 23 computers will be limited to speed of one CAT5e cable?

The speed limitation is the speed of the switch ports and the speed of the switches. CAT5e cable will not be a bottleneck in your network.

DO NOT CONNECT SWITCHES WITH MULTIPLE CABLES, and TAKE CARE TO AVOID LOOPS AND MULTIPLE PATHS. Google "spanning tree" for more information about why.

Will the speed of computer connected to white switch be same as computer connected to top switch?

If the network is busy, no. You have slow, cheap switches, so they will pass traffic slowly. Thereform, more hops = slower traffic.

Will moving white switch right next top switch and having 16 wires comming 100 feet instead of 1 wire comming 100 feet make it faster?

It should not make any difference.

EDIT 2: Everyone mention gigabit switches, but will they do any difference with 10/100 network cards? I then have to use gigabit cards in every computer too? I could in server perhaps, but users will be 10/100

YES, GB in the switch will improve performance even if all of the connections are 100MB. The "backplane speed" (= internal speed) of the switch will be faster, as will any uplinks. And you are really going to want to put a GB card in the server at some point.

Good luck.

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If you happen to have switches that support STP, it's actually recommended to have cycles in your network topology, as it increases redundancy. –  Falcon Momot Oct 13 '12 at 5:36
    
Well that sounds great, but its small company they going to fire me if i suggest them to pay $400-600 for switch. Even 10/100 switch is okay IMO i plugged all three 10/100 switches into 4 port gigabit switch i had and speeds are okay even for computers that are far. 100Mbit / 8 = 12MB/s (in theory) that's not bad speed for $100 24 port switch. –  John Smith Oct 15 '12 at 22:00
    
Then follow my second suggestion ... make the 4-port GB switch the center of the network, get a Gb NIC for the server, and watch response time improve dramatically. Once that is done, find another job ... $10/connection for dramatic improvement in performance is money well spent. –  tomjedrz Dec 15 '12 at 3:09
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question is how to connect switches together

With a standard network cable

If i connect switches with 2 cables will this give speed boost?

With that switch, I suspect connecting two ports will take down your network. You will create a loop. You need a switch that supports bonding (aka etherchannel) if you want to combine the capacity of multiple ports.

If i connect them with only 1 wire will that limit bandwidth

You will only have the capacity of a single port between the two switches. Keep in mind that these are switches, which means this only applies to traffic that actually needs to cross that link to access something connected to the switch on the other side.

If you had better switches I would suggest you setup SNMP monitoring of the ports used between the switches to see if you are actually using all your bandwidth between the two. Since those appear to be un-managed you really can't do much.

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Other question if i move all switches close to each other and pull 16 wires 100 feet long will it be more speed than if i pull just 1 wire that connects white switch 100 feet to other switches –  John Smith Oct 13 '12 at 0:15
    
No there should be no noticeable difference. As long as every single wire is less then 100 meters you really shouldn't notice anything. –  Zoredache Oct 13 '12 at 0:22
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You will not improve speed by connecting more than one wire, unless you bond the two interfaces together. Given you're using a simple netgear switch I doubt that's gonna work. Of course any linux setup will do that nicely for you, but that's a different story altogether.

What you may experience is that the signal may degrade due to the length of the cable. I would suggest to use CAT6 however https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_5_cable says the max. length possible is 328 feet, but I would say go CAT6 all the way. Especially regarding connections between switches. Or try fiber if your switch allows it.

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100 feet away is nothing. CAT5 won't degrade much in that short amount of distance. Fiber is way overkill for this setup, although I'll agree that CAT6 probably makes the most sense - its not too much more expensive. –  David W Oct 13 '12 at 0:05
    
We already have cat5 wires in place. –  John Smith Oct 13 '12 at 0:09
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I would be really surprised if the switches he has can bond ports. –  tomjedrz Oct 13 '12 at 2:11
    
I would be surprised too. Yes fiber may be overkill. But depending on your future prospects it may be a good idea to prepare for expansion capability. You may not need something right now, but since you're putting it in place, why not... Anyways, it totally depends on the situation of course. –  aseq Oct 13 '12 at 2:38
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Companies put dozens of computers and/or phones on switches with a "single wire" connecting those switches to other switches or a router (the outside world) all the time. You don't need a complicated setup, and you can easily use a CAT5 or CAT6 cable to achieve the 100ft distance, as Aseq pointed out.

If you use a Gbit (gigabit) switch, that means that each port can handle up to 1 billion bits per second. So your "single wire" to the other switch or to the outside world could (theoretically) max out at a Gbit speed (and I doubt you have such fast internet).

I do recommend that you start looking into managed switches, and go with a Gigabit switch. It takes knowledge to manage one (a managed switch), so bear that in mind when you consider complexity and cost.

For your setup, you should be fine.

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Its mostly not WAN but LAN server that i worried users store everything on server shared partition. –  John Smith Oct 13 '12 at 0:16
    
I realize that. But with Gigabit switches, you should still be fine, unless you're dealing with a LOT of media and streaming video files throughout the network, etc.... Companies do this sort of thing all the time. Without knowing what type of data you guys deal with, my guess is that your bottleneck is likely going to be on the computers & the server (disk speed, etc...) than it is issues in the network. That is, unless you design the network very poorly and/or don't use Gbit switches. –  David W Oct 13 '12 at 0:21
    
PS.... if you do expect to constantly max out your switches at Gbit speeds, then you definitely need to look into managed switches, and you should either hire someone to design the network for you, or you should study a concept called "QoS" (Quality of Service) - especially since your phones share the same network as your data. –  David W Oct 13 '12 at 0:26
    
I got actually NETGEAR ProSafe GS105 Gigabit switch its only has 4 ports in it though, you think i can have use of it in current setup? Like connect all 3 switches and server into it and keep internet router and phone server on one of the slower switches –  John Smith Oct 13 '12 at 0:28
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