Network Size

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Networking
What is the size in nodes of the following terms: Small Network, Mid-Size Network, Large Network? I'm buying some switches for my network and the technical specs read that that are designed for Small to Mid-sized networks. I want to know what the breakdown is. ty, Pat

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I don’t think there are EXACT specs on a small or mid-size network… In my OPINION, small would be 10-50 and mid-size would be 50-200 but someone else may say something totally different.

The more crucial questions would be ‘What are you buying’ and ‘What are you intending to do with it/them’? It would be easier to give you specifics based on requirements linked to the host/hub/NIC/switch/router etc…

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  • Mraslan
    i agree with Blacknight, but i just want to add something. Its also important what type of data and how much expected transfer rate will go through the switch, a network with large number of hosts, but not transfering much data will not need a very good switch
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  • JUANDIEGO
    You may also consider other design issues, such as the kind of traffic (video, voice or data), security (vlans, pvlans, etc), applications, expected latency and so on. On the web there are some good design papers that may help you to set your design baseline.
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  • Itspec
    Good points on what 'type' of data is going to be flowing on your network... to add to this..keep in mind any potential growth you may or may not antcipate over time. Don't buy just based on today's needs but also tomorrow's. Our switches were fine up until last year...but now, if wanted to implement stuff such as Zenworks for Networks, and to start doing some QoS on our network, although being small-medium, our switches do not have that capability.
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  • DrillO
    forget the marketing hype....."Designed For". the questions you need to ask are: what does it need to do? and, for how many does it need to do it?...then add a few ports to be safe.
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  • EunisAAO
    I thank you for your replys. You all make excellent points. I guess I need to look at this in a different light. I'm trying to decide to buy Cisco 2950 or 3Com 4400 switches for VOIP, Data access to an IBM iSeries DB2 database, as well as MS Exchange e-mail. Web browsing is low priority. I'm looking to have QoS, and prioritization management. I have 3 subnets, 15/40/60 users at these sites. Most of the traffic will be database access and e-mail. I'm using Cisco routers at the moment. I have about 5 CAD users as well. Is it recommended to stick with one vender for all my hardware or is the industry standard enough to mix without compatibility problems now-a-days?
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  • Mraslan
    well i would recommend Cisco if you can afford it.
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  • Freejack
    The Cisco 2950 should be able to meet your needs quite well. I don't have experience with the 3Com product. Keep in mind that one advantage of a single vendor solution is that it can be easier to obtain support. Also, if you have personnel already familiar with Cisco products it lets you leverage existing expertise. With that noted, I've also had good luck serving similar configurations to what you describe with HP ProCurve switch products.
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  • JUANDIEGO
    One more point to consider is how much knowledge of the equipments, commands, technology, etc you and yuor network management team have. I mean if you know cisco routers, probably you'll be comfortable con cisco switches... Don't forget to consider your budget!!!!
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  • Drmikec
    Your requirement for VOIP puts the situation in a whole different light. Successful VOIP requires significant bandwidth guarantees and QOS standards. Go with a name that has a significant VOIP investment and experience, like Nortel or Cisco. Since you're already using Cisco routers, they are the logical choice. IMHO, if the switch will support VOIP well, all the other traffic will be fine, also.
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  • Larrythethird
    We get around all of the bandwidth issues by centralizing our in house routing to one group of switches. In the past, we had edge routing via RIP2. Even when our newer switches provided OSPF, there were still bottle necks. The overhead on all the routing, the different "closets", slowed everything down. At our edges, everything is layer 2. Our two routers are running at about 15% capability on a 600 user, VoIP enabled network.
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  • RobertB50
    I would go with Cisco for two reasons. They have a very good VoIP solution and their product Support is excellent. Especailly if you are a small shop and don't have all the technical expertise in-house. We are getting rid of all our 3Com, as our budget will allow, as we have had some serious support issues with them in the past and the 3Com switches have been more problimatical than the Cisco stuff.
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  • Jayaramks
    I agree with the Cisco solution as the VOIP solution from Cisco is very good. The expertise in the market is vast and any technical or connectivity issues are addressed by lot of newsgroups. If your budgets does not provide , may be you can go for mixed managed and unmanaged switches from Cisco
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  • Dclacy
    I know this is the wrong approach to a solid solution, but lets face it, when Engineering a network infrastructure your limiting factor is $$$. How much did the people in the crystal palace allow you to spend? I ask this because you may need to spend a lot more for your VoIP solution. I may be incorrect on this point but to my knowledge the Cisco 2950 only supports VoIP with locally powered IP devices, not PoE (Power Over Ethernet,802.3af) this may not cause grief now but future growth planning could be affected by this one point. Next thing to think about, personally I live in Cisco CLI land.... how solid are you with the Cisco CLI? Most Administrators I know disable Web interface to their switches, Routers and PIXs (those pesky Helpdesk guys keep messing around). Which ever solution you go for, research and document everything!!! With the money you are about to spend.... if it falls apart or does not do everything promised.... heads will roll. Sorry to sound gloomy and end of the world'ish, I can almost sense the bubble bursting on your hopes for an easy solution to a complex problem. I tell you what, ask me how to configure a NAT on a PIX and I promise to sound bright and cherpy =)
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