Need help choosing a network switch

By Hawkeyed · 8 replies
Jan 3, 2009
  1. Hi

    I don't know much about networking so if you can give me some tips and maybe some links to articles I can read, I'll be very happy :)

    The switch is to be used for LAN gaming and I was thinking 32 or 16 ports depending on the cost (I am thinking quality over quantity).

    Large files will be shared across the network so I was thinking gigabit, but apparently 10/100/1000 MBIT is pretty expensive?

    Is it better to have one big switch than a few smaller ones performance vise?

    What should I be aware of when it is to be used for gaming and filesharing (filesharing being secondary but still important)

    I am prepared to read a lot so please write me some links or keywords I should google

    Edit: What I really want to know is how to tell the "good deals" apart from the "cheap crap"

    Thank you very much

  2. tengeta

    tengeta TS Enthusiast Posts: 612

    You should start by grouping what needs to be networked together in the first place. Drawing it out saves a LOT of trouble and pain in figuring out things once you start.

    I'll start out with the fact that if you have systems that are sharing data between them, and systems that aren't, its a good idea to keep them apart. Therefore multiple smaller switches are what you should be aiming for. You want a router to deal with routing, that keeps a decent workload off your switches. Connect your router to your modem, and then connect your switches to the router LAN ports. Every switch you connect should be on its first or last LAN port, not the WAN port or you will have to do a lot more configuration to get it working. Connect the computers that do LAN gaming to the same switch, then the computers doing filesharing on another switch. This will shift the traffic workload to your switches, and only go up to the router when you need to get something off the internet or another switch. This also works in the manner that you can use a gigabit switch for what you need it for (really thats only computer to computer file transfers, no home internet connection uses up a 100m/bit connection, and gaming does not justify a need for gigabit transfer rates).

    You can also chain the switches if you want to, and if thats the case keep your LAN gaming switch at the bottom of the chain so its traffic stays there.

    Two things that would be helpful in further advice are 1: the actual number of systems you want to network and 2: if the systems are doing just gaming or filesharing, or both. What I've suggested above is rather useless if both is the case.
  3. Hawkeyed

    Hawkeyed TS Member Topic Starter

    Thank you for replying :)

    The actual number of systems connected will vary and all the systems will be doing both.

    The files to be shared could be free games, and although they are usually light weight it could take some time to transfer them to 10 or more computers.

    I guess what you are suggesting can work if the switches are connected by gigabit and a few computers are connected by gigabit too so we can place the files to be shared on those.

    The number of systems connected will vary but if it is just a matter of plugging in an extra switch, initial support for about 10 to 16 will be enough as with more people, one of them is sure to have a switch they can bring.

    My concern is: how much delay will the router cause between the two or more switches? I guess it is minimal, but a single big switch would theoretically be better right?
  4. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    A single switch would be less headache. They are expensive. I just bought a Cisco 24 port gigabit for a client and also my office. They're $400+ USD. Ouch.
  5. tengeta

    tengeta TS Enthusiast Posts: 612

    If your doing both things on the same systems, your gonna be better off with the big switch.

    Heres one you might want to take a look at, seems pricey but its actually pretty good for a 24 port gigabit switch.

    If you want to keep it an easy setup, make sure that you keep your Router and its DHCP server on, and connect the switch to it. That will handle all the IP assignments still and stop the internet access from interfering with LAN gaming.
  6. Hawkeyed

    Hawkeyed TS Member Topic Starter

    looks interesting

    what does the following mean?

    PoE No
    SNMP No
    QoS Yes
    LACP No
    Layer 1
    Port Mirroring No
    48Gbps Switching Capacity

    and thank you very much :)

    edit: I know what Stackable means -.-
  7. tengeta

    tengeta TS Enthusiast Posts: 612

    Most of that is just certifications of what kinds of end devices or protocols it can handle which is standard amongst its class of switches. Layer 1 means its a manageable switch, whereas Layer 2 switches just push data where needed.

    48Gbps switching means it can handle more bandwidth than you will demand from it basically. You won't have servers or anything that runs full duplex gigabit connections 24/7, thats what its for.

    If you need detailed descriptions of each thing, Wikipedia is a good friend. =)
  8. Hawkeyed

    Hawkeyed TS Member Topic Starter

    I'm from Denmark, so I looked the switch up on a danish website . It's a kind of database of hardware where you can see prices from several shops and a rating system of the shops.

    The thing is D-Link DGS-1024D comes up twice :s

    More than one version/edition?

    Some information is missing on the site so I can't fully compare them -.-, but I guess they could identical, however the price is definatly not the same, then again it varies a lot from shop to shop.
  9. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    That would be overkill for your requirements my friend.
    You don't need a layer 1 device for your needs. 48Gbps throughput is huge compared to what you'd use. If you can afford it then sure, why not? A managed switch certainly has its advantages, but you probably wouldn't utilise them.
    I buy 3com 24-port gigabit layer 2 switches for our client-server network. They are pretty good and a fair price tbh. Less than £200 uk pounds for one.

    One accidentally found its way into my home network and serves our purposes nicely. We only have 4 of us lan gaming together, but it also serves a nas box and streams music and dvd content. It will copy data across the lan at approx. 13MBps. although thats not just down to the switch (other factors involved). But it is a good piece of kit.
    I tend to reply on 3com, cisco (not the linksys brand), Netgear are ok too.
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