Jump to content

How to connect router, switches, servers, et cetera?


Arie
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm not much of a hardware person, I know how routers and switches work, but I need urgent help on how all these should be properly linked together? Which ports should be connected to what? Which devices should be connected to which switch? Should I use VLAN's or not? Et cetera.

Let me start by listing what we have:

- We're connected to the internet via glass, using a professional router. This router has 4 WAN ports and 4 LAN ports, all 100 Mbit.

- Behind the router are 3 switches: 1 unmanaged 24-port 100 Mbit switch, 1 unmanaged 24-port 1 Gbit switch and 1 managed 48-port 1 Gbit switch.

- We have about 4 wireless access points connected to our network.

- We have about 4 security camera's connected to our network, either wired or wireless, both is possible.

- We have about 8 to 10 network printers.

- We have 6 servers at current, but this is growing still. Each server has 2 NIC's, plus 1 ILO, so 3 network connections in total per server.

- There are about 40 workstations connected to our network, most of them wired, some wireless.

My idea is as follows:

- Connect each of the 3 switches to a LAN port on the router. This leaves us 1 free LAN port on the router. To connect these switches, I need to connect port 1 of each switch with the router, correct?

- Connect each of the 3 switches to both other switches, so switch 1 needs to be connected directly to switch 2 and to switch 3, et cetera. By connecting the switches to each other, I avoid stressing the 100 Mbit ports of the router I was told, is this correct? Do I need to connect port 2 on switch 1 to port 2 on switch 2, port 3 on switch 1 to port 2 on switch 3 and last but not least connect port 3 on switch 2 to port 3 on switch 3?

- Now that the router and the switches are connected, what do I connect to which switch? If I have 3 network connections per server, I can connect 8 servers in total to the unmanaged 24-port 1 Gbit switch. Since we have 6 servers at current, we'll have 2 ports left for 2 more servers in the future. But is it wise to connect the servers to an unmanaged switch instead of a managed switch?

- We can connect all wired workstations to the managed 48-port 1 Gbit switch. Unless it's wise to connect the servers to the managed switch and the workstations to the unmanaged switch?

- We were thinking of connecting the wireless access points to the same switch as the workstations, so the managed 48-port 1 Gbit switch, is this wise?

- The camera's consume quite a lot of bandwidth we believe, so should we connect those to the managed 48-port 1 Gbit switch as well?

- Printers can be connected to the unmanaged 24-port 100 Mbit switch. 100 Mbit is not fast, but enough for printing.

So, what we're most worried about is how to connect the 3 switches. Connecting each of them directly to the router is good, but what about connecting them to each other? And if that's a good thing to do, how do we do that? Everything is a mess currently, so we would like to do this good now.

Any help and advice would be appreciated very much!

Thank you in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


you have a lot going on, and a lot of how you connect depends on the physical location of devices etc... If a device has a gigabit network card, then try to connect it to a gigabit switch. If the device only supports 100Mbit (printers usually only support 10/100), then you gain no additional benefit by connecting that device to a gigabit port.

In a perfect world you would generally use managed switches at the backbone and unmanaged as you work farther out unless there is some other need that dictates otherwise. That would mean you connect the managed switch to your router, and all unmanaged switches would connect to the managed switch. I don't really know how your network is physically set up, so how you branch out from your managed switch backbone is completely up to you and is generally dictated by port need, however please heed the following:

You want to avoid creating more than 1 path for information to follow as it moves from device to device.

A

/\

B C

A, B and C are all switches. Note how there is only 1 direction information can travel. If a device connected to B wants to communicate with a device connected to C, the data must travel through A. What you DO NOT want to do is to also link B and C together directly because you will have created a loop, and for the purposes of this discussion, loops are bad (loops do exist, in fact the internet would not work without loops, but they're generally bad in a closed network).

Unless you have a specific need/desire to segregate traffic (keep all the cameras together, or all the ILO's together on there own virtual network), VLANs are unnecessary and may further complicate things unless you really understand how networks work and how to configure everything properly.

If your servers have Gigabit network cards, definitely connect them to a gigabit switch (probably the managed one since you have 48 ports available).

The workstations can connect to managed or unmanaged switches... whatever port availability allows. Same with the access points and printers.

Hopefully this information proved useful. hit us back with further questions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for your reply!

you have a lot going on, and a lot of how you connect depends on the physical location of devices etc... If a device has a gigabit network card, then try to connect it to a gigabit switch. If the device only supports 100Mbit (printers usually only support 10/100), then you gain no additional benefit by connecting that device to a gigabit port.

In a perfect world you would generally use managed switches at the backbone and unmanaged as you work farther out unless there is some other need that dictates otherwise. That would mean you connect the managed switch to your router, and all unmanaged switches would connect to the managed switch. I don't really know how your network is physically set up, so how you branch out from your managed switch backbone is completely up to you and is generally dictated by port need, however please heed the following:

It's only a small office. All machines are located in the same single floor building. We have one 19" rack in which we have our router, switches and servers. This 19" rack is really the core of our network.

You want to avoid creating more than 1 path for information to follow as it moves from device to device.

A

/\

B C

A, B and C are all switches. Note how there is only 1 direction information can travel. If a device connected to B wants to communicate with a device connected to C, the data must travel through A. What you DO NOT want to do is to also link B and C together directly because you will have created a loop, and for the purposes of this discussion, loops are bad (loops do exist, in fact the internet would not work without loops, but they're generally bad in a closed network).

Good thing that I asked then, because we believed that connecting each switch to the other switches would be a good thing... :blink: Thank you for clearing that up! But what I'm wondering is, our internet facing router has four 100 Mbit LAN ports, do we connect all switches to the router directly, or should we connect only the managed 1 Gbit switch to the router and connect both the unmanged 1 Gbit switch and the unmanaged 100 Mbit switch to this managed 1 Gbit switch? Let me try to draw it:

                               Internet
|
|
Router
|
|
Managed 1 Gbit Switch
| |
| |
Unm. 1 Gbit Sw. Unm. 100 Mbit Sw.

Or...

                               Internet
|
|
Router
/ | \
/ | \
Man. 1 Gbit Sw. | Unm. 100 Mbit Sw.
|
Unm. 1 Gbit Sw.

In the first drawing the unmanaged switches are connected to the managed switch. If I understood you correctly we could best connect the servers to the managed switch and the workstations, printers, et cetera to the unmanaged switches (depending on their link speed of course). No network traffic will go through the router, unless it's meant for the internet.

In the second drawing all switches are connected to the router. Connecting the servers, workstations, et cetera will be the same as above, but now all network traffic will go through the router. If a workstation from one switch works on a server on another switch, this network traffic will go through the router, whereas in drawing one this is not the case. The network ports on the router are also only 100 Mbit, which means that all 1 Gbit connections will be reduced to only 100 Mbit as soon as the traffic goes through the router.

If the above is correct, that would mean that connecting only one switch to the router is the best way to go. This one switch should be the managed 1 Gbit switch then, as it'll be the backbone. The two other switches, both unmanaged should be connected only to the managed switch and not to each other, as this would create a loop, right?

Unless you have a specific need/desire to segregate traffic (keep all the cameras together, or all the ILO's together on there own virtual network), VLANs are unnecessary and may further complicate things unless you really understand how networks work and how to configure everything properly.

No VLAN's for now then ;)

If your servers have Gigabit network cards, definitely connect them to a gigabit switch (probably the managed one since you have 48 ports available).

The workstations can connect to managed or unmanaged switches... whatever port availability allows. Same with the access points and printers.

So let me sum it all up: The router is connected to the internet. Of the four 100 Mbit LAN ports on the router, we only use one port, number 1, which will be connected to port 1 on the managed 1 Gbit switch. On this switch on port 2 we need to connect the unmanaged 1 Gbit switch and on port 3 we need to connect the unmanaged 100 Mbit switch. We don't link these unmanaged switches together, as it would create a loop. On the managed 1 Gbit switch we connect all servers. On the unmanaged 1 Gbit switch we connect all workstations. Devices which only require 100 Mbit, such as printers, need to be connected to the unmanaged 100 Mbit switch. Is this all correct? Have I understood it all?

Hopefully this information proved useful. hit us back with further questions.

Very useful, so thank you very much! Hope you can reply as soon as possible to what I have written above, as we need to set up the above this week to have everything done before the end of the year. Thank you very much again, your advice is very much appreciated!

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

                               Internet
|
|
Router
|
|
Managed 1 Gbit Switch
| |
| |
Unm. 1 Gbit Sw. Unm. 100 Mbit Sw.

Or...

                               Internet
|
|
Router
/ | \
/ | \
Man. 1 Gbit Sw. | Unm. 100 Mbit Sw.
|
Unm. 1 Gbit Sw.

it's completely up to you. Think of the LAN port section on your router as another unmanaged switch (because it is, actually), so if you want to connect additional devices/switches directly to the ports on the back of your router, you certainly can.

So let me sum it all up: The router is connected to the internet. Of the four 100 Mbit LAN ports on the router, we only use one port, number 1, which will be connected to port 1 on the managed 1 Gbit switch. On this switch on port 2 we need to connect the unmanaged 1 Gbit switch and on port 3 we need to connect the unmanaged 100 Mbit switch. We don't link these unmanaged switches together, as it would create a loop. On the managed 1 Gbit switch we connect all servers. On the unmanaged 1 Gbit switch we connect all workstations. Devices which only require 100 Mbit, such as printers, need to be connected to the unmanaged 100 Mbit switch. Is this all correct? Have I understood it all?

You have it all understood. While you don't need to connect them exactly as you have noted, it's certainly a great way to keep things organized.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

                               Internet
|
|
Router
|
|
Managed 1 Gbit Switch
| |
| |
Unm. 1 Gbit Sw. Unm. 100 Mbit Sw.

I'd go for this arrangement if there is going to be any significant traffic across the 2 1Gb switches, otherwise your router is going to throttle this to 100Mb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

                               Internet
|
|
Router
|
|
Managed 1 Gbit Switch
| |
| |
Unm. 1 Gbit Sw. Unm. 100 Mbit Sw.

Wouldn't it be wise to connect the managed 1 Gbit switch to several ports on the router, for example two ports? Is this possible at all, I wonder? And if it's possible, wouldn't this increase the maximum throughput from the managed 1 Gbit switch to the internet? Like below.

                               Internet
|
|
Router
| |
| |
Managed 1 Gbit Switch

On the router it's possible to mirror ports. The router has 4 WAN ports and 4 LAN ports. If I would connect the managed switch to the router with two cables, would it be a good idea to mirror port 1 on the router to port 2, so that both cables from the switch are basically connected to the same port?

If the above is possible at all, wouldn't it be wise to connect both unmanaged switches with two cables instead of one to the managed switch as well to increase the throughput? Like below.

                        Managed 1 Gbit Switch
| | | |
| | | |
Unm. 1 Gbit Sw. Unm. 100 Mbit Sw.

Thanks again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

loops are bad

I'd stick with a single path, and don't play with mirroring ports or vlans or any of the other managed switch features until you know what they're for. Pretend it's an unmanaged switch for now :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

loops are bad

I'd stick with a single path, and don't play with mirroring ports or vlans or any of the other managed switch features until you know what they're for. Pretend it's an unmanaged switch for now :)

But even if we don't mirror any LAN port, we could still connect the managed switch to 2 LAN ports of the router... Would this be useful?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ultimately you are limited by your ISP's internet connection speed. So even if you double your throughput to 200MBit by bridging 2 connections to the router (you're limited by the port speed on the router, not the switch), it wouldn't matter because your internet connection speed is going to be less than that.

At the end of the day, I would not connect the managed switch to 2 LAN ports on the router. It serves no useful purpose.

Edited by rendrag
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...