How many switches can you have in a network?

1545 pts.
Network design
Routing and switching
What happens if I add more switches in the network? Is there any limitation or any calculation for that?

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I don’t think there is any limitation in the number of switches you can put in a network; however, you need to consider complexity, added delays, connectivity, and port density when you calculate the number of switches you want in your network. The more switches you have, the more chances there are to break down the spanning tree protocol which would bring down all the services. So you need to be practical and base the optimum number of switches for your network on your business needs.

Hope this helps.

Be aware that adding switches enlarges your broadcast area, so it might produce more problems than you want with additional traffic and possible faulty NICs and hardware.


There is no limitation to how many switches you can have, but you don’t want too many switches in a daisy chain. That will start causing latency issues.

If you need more ports, look into a larger core switch like the Cisco 4500 or 6500 series.

Discuss This Question: 3  Replies

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  • Robert Stewart
    I think there is an old school rule of 5-4-3-2-1, too many hubs in a network will cause collisions of packets and unreliable data. Google the 5-4-3 rule, it will help you understand propagation and collisions. But with the new smart switches do these rules still apply, i think these rules only apply in a shared Ethernet network, not a switched network.
    1,810 pointsBadges:
  • mshen
    switched networks eliminate this rule.
    27,385 pointsBadges:
  • CRagsdale32
    The rule I follow with switches is simply: Keep only as many Core switches as is needed to distribute your information effectively to the Distribution layer switches; Keep only as many Distribution layer switches as you need to manage your Access layer, and; Keep only as many Access layer switches as you have a need for the number of clients in the network. All of that, plus 10% for future growth. Adding extra switches without need is pretty much useless and will only drawn down your Network performance.
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