how to hook up gigabit switches

Unanswered Question
Nov 28th, 2004

how do i hook up a cisco 5500 and netgear switch? both gigabit switches....the netgear has SFP modules. is SFP required to hook up two gigabit switches? can I just run a cat5 between the two from any two ports? (the switches both have copper gigabit, and the cisco also has optical gigabit).

my associate keeps saying to figure out how to hook them up with SFP connectors....what does this mean, and what are the advantages to this, if this is not the only way.

I have this problem too.
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scottmac Sun, 11/28/2004 - 00:46

If both have copper Gig ports, you should be able to connect them directly with a Cat5e/Cat6 jumper.

Depending on the netgear, you may or may not need a Gig crossover cable. The Cisco does not auto-config for straight-through / crossover, but I believe the Netgear does (I believe you can just use a regular straight-through cable).

FWIW

Scott

mgray7777 Sun, 11/28/2004 - 00:54

what are uplink ports then?

and if the cisco does not have copper ports, can I just hook up an optical cable from one of the optical ports on the cisco to the SFP port on the netgear? or is there something special about SFP ports?

thank you very much for the help.

scottmac Sun, 11/28/2004 - 09:21

Uplink ports can take several forms.

In the SOHO realm, it is a crossover port so that a standard straight-through cable can be used.

They can also be "stacking" ports (using a different bus and / or protocol) to create a single virtual switch / device out of a stack.

In common general terms, it it usually a higher bandwidth port or two for transmitting the aggregated bandwidth of the switch to the next device.

You can connect the optical ports if they are the same type (SX, LX, LZ ...). You have to be careful though, if you connect a long-haul optical port (LX, LZ) to a short-haul port (SX), you can burn out the short-haul receiver ... the long-haul drivers are much stronger.

There's nothing special about an SFP: it's just a newer flavor of "Pick your interface" similar in function to a GBIC. The optical interface is the same as a dedicate port. If you run from a "real" GigSX port to an SFP GigSX port (remembering to cross the transmit and receive) it should work fine.

Good Luck

Scott

mgray7777 Sun, 11/28/2004 - 10:41

Thanks for all your help scott.

according to the "cisco catalyst switch cable, connector, and ac power guide", the 5500 uses an SC connector.

WS-X5403 3 port GBIC modules slots

WS-X5410 9 GBIC module slots

SC fiber-optic (for 1000BaseSX/LX/ZX GBICs)

SMF/MMF2 fiber-optic

(I would list the specs of the netgear, but I am unsure of the model).

1)I am thinking that since the switches are in the same rack, SX would be appropriate. however, I cannot be sure of both components, so if one is LX and the other is SX, will this still work over a short distance using a dimmer, and what about working with question (2) below?

2) If there is no way around the fact that the cisco uses an SC and the netgear uses an LC connector, are there converters out there, or is this a bad way to go?

3) you mentioned 'If you run from a "real" GigSX port to an SFP GigSX port (remembering to cross the transmit and receive) it should work fine.' What do you mean cross the transmit and receive? physically reverse the connectors, like a cross-over cable?

4) Assuming the cisco switch is flat with no vlan's configured, will this be plug and play, and do i have to turn off the switches before connecting the two (can they burn out?)? If there are vlans configured, will it still be plug and play?

finally, it seems like this is not really a 'true solution'. The gigabit ports that connect the two switches will be really saturated, considering there will be 36 or so gigabit devices on one, and 24 on the other, and all the traffic between systems on the two switches will be travelling over 1 (1 gigabit) port. What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks again.

7rbowenii Tue, 11/30/2004 - 10:24

You actually have several bottlenecks here. The 5500 with a SUPIII only has a 3.6 Gb backplane (SUP II is 1.2Gbps). So, oversubscription of your 1 Gb link is only 3.6:1 whcih is no big deal. The bigger deal is that your 5500 is oversubscribed by 10:1. However, dependent upon how traffic is flowing, you may only be dealing with a 3-5:1 oversubscription rate.

You can increase the link between your two switches with the use of etherchannels. The netgear needs to be 802.3ad compliant though.

Also, as far as the physical requirements go, sc to lc fiber cables should be readily available by any fiber provider. You should be able to either order as a crossover (if needed) or manually create the crossover with the cable.

I am fairly certain the the Netgear switch would, in fact, be SX too.

-Bo

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