I have zero experience with managed switches and want to make sure I understand how I need to proceed with our upgrade. I have been doing a ton of research and reading trying to get up to speed. I have learned a lot but there is nothing like getting advice and instruction from the experts.

We currently have 3 powerconnect 2342 10/100 unmanged switches located in three separate closets. The links between the closets are fiber. We are currently using AT-102XL Fast Ethernet Media Converters, but are going to upgrade to AT-1004 Gigabit converters. We are running out of ports on all our 2342 switches, so we figured we may as well go ahead and try to upgrade our Network speed while we add new switches. See proposed new layout network diagram below, (if this is the best way to do it). We are going to keep the existing 2342 switches in place and only connect units or devices to them that are not bandwidth intensive if you will, and we will move everything else up to the new 5424 switches. Here are the questions I have.

  1. Do the 5424 switches need any special configuration on the ports to inter-connect them together, such as trunking, lags, etc..
  2. Do I just configure all 3 of the 5424 switches as VLAN1 general ports.
  3. Is connecting the 2342's to the 5424's with a single ethernet cable port to port going to be alright.

Any, advice, help, or instruction will be greatly appreciated.

Network Diagram


Why continue to use media converters when the Power Connect 5424 supports fiber via SFP modules which are likely cheaper than the media converters?

  1. The default configuration sounds like it should work out of the box for you. You'll only need Trunking between the switches if you plan on using multiple VLAN's. LAGS are useful if you want more throughput than one link can provide or are looking to improve the network availability. If you're running fiber between the switches this would mean multiple fiber runs.

  2. This should be the default out of the box config. I know that older PowerConnect switches default to having STP enabled which can cause problems for some devices. So if you have a device that's failing to negotiate with the network appropriately you'll want to either disable STP or enable fast link on that port.

  3. No other option really. The non-managed switch isn't going to support STP or LAGs.

Beyond that if you are using STP make sure that you manually set the STP priority on your central switch rather than leave it up to chance, normally based on the lowest MAC address, to determine the root STP switch. You may want to consider is connecting the 2 edge 5424's with a fiber link as well creating a loop. But if you do this make sure that you're using STP to prevent problems on the network. This will allow the network to reroute traffic around a broken link between the central and an edge 5424. This would be cheaper than running 2 fiber lines to each switch and use LAGs for redundancy and also has some advantages as the runs will most likely be in different physical locations. If it's in the budget you can always do both LAGs and this STP idea. You'll just need more fiber and more SFPs for the switches.

  • Thanks for the reply .. if i understand correctly this is how you are answering the questions i posed. – Tommy Thompson Apr 1 '11 at 15:46
  • ooops ... submitted previous comment before i meant . glad defaults should work on the 5424's i was not looking forward to having to do any heavy duty setup on my maiden voyage working with a manged switch(s). – Tommy Thompson Apr 1 '11 at 15:56

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