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How to choose a switch?

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I have been working with Cisco for awhile. However, I still have difficulty deciding which switch to purchase for which situation. For example, when should I purchase a 4500? Will a 3550 do just fine? Should I be buying a 6500? Where are there resources that can more specifically help me with my decision making process? Does Cisco have any document anywhere specifically spelling out for which circumstance I should purchase which switch?

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It all depends on your network topology and port density. If you only need 24-48 ports, all 100base or 10base then a fixed port switch is probably your best and cheapest option. If you are looking to expand in the near future and need a good quantity of mixed ports, ie, gigabit copper, 100base, 10base, gigabit fiber, 100 fiber, then a modular switch is worth the cost. Also where you are putting this switch in your topology matters. Whether it is a user switch or core switch. Other questions you need to ask yourself is will it be just a Layer 2 switch or do you need Layer 3 routing? Will it need VLANS ? PVLANS? Do you need redundancy. (redundant supervisors in modular switches)

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