My current place of employment is a very small print shop with average home networking equipment. I have a spare switch I could give them, but I don't want to hand them a ticking timebomb at the same time.

The shop has 7 Clients, 3 servers, & 6 IP printers. They currently have a 16 port 10/100 d-link switch, and a netgear gigabit switch that is connected to the servers. They seem to be somewhat flakey, unless they are rebooted every few weeks. They bosses seem to be ok with an occasional interruption with the current setup, as long as it's only for a few mins.

My question is, would a Cisco Catalyst 2950 switch be ok to use in production? I have never used it outside of my CCNA lab, it works great but is now collecting dust. I am thinking of "donating" it to them, but only if it will help things. I was thinking of even setting up two, one unplugged as a spare ready to go. If their pc using staff grows much higher and starts using a domain, I would probably go the procurve route.


I see from the Cisco datasheet that the 2950 is a 12, 24, or 48-port 10/100 switch, which can possibly also have two gig ports. Actually I think I used some of these in a previous job.

Cisco equipment is generally quite reliable. That switch certainly won't perform any less well than the existing home networking equipment they have set up. Hopefully the 2950 you have is big enough so you can consolidate all the existing equipment on to it instead of running two separate switches. The Cisco equipment is also managed, so you could potentially do some snmp monitoring and remote configuration if desired.

If your 2950 is the one with a couple of gig ports, you could connect the 2 busiest of the 3 servers to those ports. That could provide a small performance boost over the existing setup, if the client machines are all communicating with the servers.

So hey, go for it! Setting up this switch sounds like a great use of older hardware.

  • Yes it's the T model with the gig uplinks, it also has the enhanced image. I like the idea of using the server on the uplink! I think i'll try it out and keep the old ones there on standby just in case of a PSU failure or something. – SkinnyGeek1010 Jan 25 '11 at 15:01
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    2950s are great workhorses. They seem to never die, are rather featureful, and can be picked up pretty cheap used. Good devices. – bdha Jan 25 '11 at 19:54

Honestly, any brand switch for that matter will work with them for awhile. You don't really have to worry about upgrading the hardware unless they are really exceeding the capacity of the switch itself.

What you have to worry about is the configuration of the network and of the domain (if they're using AD).

For now, let the gear be and make sure it's configured right. And make sure there are no loops in the switch.

You can try a firmware upgrade if the current switches are managed. But otherwise, a weekly restart won't really do harm.

Plus, if the current switches are unmanaged, it's one less thing to worry about in a tight budget place :)

  • I doubt they are exceeding the capacity of the current switches, the biggest problem is the old switches going down when i'm not there. I am hoping the used Cisco switches might add some reliability. – SkinnyGeek1010 Jan 25 '11 at 15:08
  • First identify why the current switch goes down at random. I personally have never experienced a switch locking up. A router, yes. A switch, no. There may be a broadcast storm that's being thrown up, a worm trying to replicate or something, a user plugging a switch into a switch port and back creating a loop... Or the home gear is just really really darn cheap... – Jared Jan 27 '11 at 14:43

Using an older switch would'nt make a problem if its a "real" switch. The thing about the more advanced switches is that they also have alot higher quality then the homeswitches. If they are fine with 100Mbit/s then that switch would do the job perfectly, I'm sure of that and buying another one to have as a reserv if the first one fails is cheap aswell since those switches are all over ebay.

I've used a switch from the same series during the past 3 years, and before that my prev employer had had it for several years. I have another switch aswell thats been around for like 10 years and it still does the job perfectly. So those switches are quality and will provid a good start for expanding the buisiness when that time comes.

I would go for it:) Good luck!

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