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Tips regarding the Three-layer Hierarchical Model..

So basically, I'm doing a case study and I just want to know your thoughts/insights about the switches that I have chosen for a specific layer. If it needs improvements, kindly tell me what to change. Basically, what's required is a small campus network. There's one building, several floors, each floor contains a number of computers and some floors need to have a wireless access points for wireless devices such as laptops and mobile phones. Pretty much that's it. Here's what I have done so far:

So for my Core Layer, I chose Cisco Catalyst 4500E Series. Specifically this, Would that be sufficient or it's too much for it to be a core? And, I was confused when I was searching for the switches of 4500E, there were 4 types, Chassis, Supervisors, and Line Cards. and Bundles. What's the difference between them? Here's the link if you want to see them.

Now for my Distribution Layer, I have chosen Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series(link:

. Basically, I chose this and the 4500E for my Core is because I wanted to run a Layer 3 for my Distribution and Core Layer so it would be high-performance and efficient at the same time. What do you think about it for my Distribution Layer? Any comments will be much appreciated.

Last, for my Access layer,  I have only chosen a Layer 2 switch and I think a pretty cheap one. Cisco Catalyst 2960(link: I only chosen a Layer 2 since I only need a layer 2 in access layer unlike in the Distribution and Core, I needed something a bit better than Layer 2 so I chose Layer 3 switches. I kept the Layer 2 in Access layer cause I don't want unwanted traffic in my Core layer be affected from the causes of Layer 2.

I need some suggestions or comments here if the switches I have chosen are "okay" or too much for its layer. In addition, if anyone could explain what are the benefits of having these switches combined for the heirarchical model, I mean, does it compliment each other or something, please do explain. Thank you

Cisco Employee

Tips regarding the Three-layer Hierarchical Model..

Hi Marco,

I think you are on the right track. The only thing I would do differently is to reduce the layer of 2960s. Having 4500 with sup 7E as collapsed core/distro, 3750s as the access layer switch. The main benefits of 3 tier design are the flexibility on future expansion as well as fault domain isolation, which I feel are not really key requirement in your case. So collapsed core/distro design might fit better. If you dont have common VLAN across different floors, you can extend layer 3 to the 3750s on access layer. So you can isolate spanning domain on each floor; that will prevent issue like spanning tree loop bring down the whole network.

Please refer the following link for quick comparison between different supervisor and chassis.


Lei Tian