Distribution layer design

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Sep 14th, 2009

What's todays look on Medium to Small branch office design? Do you stack multiple switches or buy lets say a 4500? I'm looking for Pros and Cons. And if you stack how do you tie in SX,SC fiber to the Access layer?

I have this problem too.
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Joseph W. Doherty Mon, 09/14/2009 - 08:44

Choice depends of features and performance (and often cost).

For smaller LANs, I've found the stackable switches, often, a viable choice.

As to using fiber, stackable switches often offer some SFP (or other modular) ports to which you can attach fiber. However, at least in Cisco's current product offerings, high density fiber isn't really available. For instance, there's the stackable Catalyst 3750G-12S, but it only provides 12 ports. (It does, though, provide internal resources and SDM templates for non-edge usage.)



BTW, in a small LAN, depending on distances, you might be able to user copper uplinks and/or run most of the LAN on one stack (which avoids the needs for uplinks/downlinks). Or, if you use stackable switches on the access edge, might find number of uplinks necessary is decreased.

joshuaballard Mon, 09/14/2009 - 08:56

Interesting, I never thought to look at the SDM templates.

This is research into replacing old 4006 chassis based LAN. As always it's cost driven. With todays stack features I have to look into this design.

Yes, fiber question has to do with uplinks from closet/access switches. I suppose I could just use SC to LC connector patch cables. Then using the SFP's with the 12 port 10 gig slots would work???

Joseph W. Doherty Mon, 09/14/2009 - 09:27

Not sure about SC to LC patch cables, hopefully someone else will comment.

The 3750(G) SFP ports are gig. 10 gig slots, which also support twingig SFP can be found on 3750Es (big brother to the 3750 series).

Depending on port density and performance requirements, stackable switch might be a very suitable replacement for an old 4006. Do know, features are a bit different between the switch series and the stackable use a ring between stack members, which doesn't scale as well as a true fabric. (BTW, best performance on a single 3560/3750 type switch vs. using stack ring, but stack also provides "sup" redundancy and each member has its own power supply [and there's a RPS option].)

Leo Laohoo Mon, 09/14/2009 - 14:39

Currently, Cisco has a number of stack-able switches. The 3750/3750-E is a multi-layer switch that supports StackWise. Early this year, Cisco unveiled a Layer 2 only switch that also supports StackWise: the 2975.

The only downside with the 2975 is that is it comes in one flavour: 48-ports, 10/100/1000 and "half" PoE (PoE on the first 24-port, first-come-first-serve).

If your organization supports 10Gb distribution, then you may also want to look into the 3560E-12SD. Unfortunately, you can't stack the 3560 but you could be able to use the "cluster" commands to do so.

Hope this helps.


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