in a switched network? I have a total of 5 switches which are connectec by crossover cable from one to the next. A packet sent from the first switch to the last will go thru 5 switches to get to its destination. Is this "legal"? What is the max amount of hops in this situation?
There is no "legal" limit as such. But the recommended maximum diameter ie. how many hops you should have is 7.
Cisco recommends no more than 7 switch hops so the spanning-tree algorithm has enough time to converge.
You know some time is needed for the BPDU's to be propagated accross the network.
The spanning-tree default timers are set for 7 hops:
max-age time: 20 sec
forward delay time: 15 sec
hello time: 2 sec