Hello, I am writing to get a little advice on switches and general network topologies within schools.
We have a three form entry primary school.
When I joined, there was a large mixture of small hubs and switches linking off of other hubs and switches which all went back to a core network cab which had 2 x 48 port managed 100mbps switches.
It was all a bit of a mess.
The school has around 125 systems, not sure on the number of users.
Since starting, I first concentrated on the main cab, replacing the older managed switches with a stack of 3 x 48 port managed 1000mbps switches and 1 x 24 port 1000mbps switch.
I then tried to ensure that all rooms had dedicated wiring to the switch. I have noticed that still there are rooms which are using mini switches.
My main question is, are these mini switches good for a network?
From my point of view,
>It adds an extra break in the network
>We have purchased considerably expensive 48 port managed switches to deal with network traffic so having these smaller switches also on the network, deciding what to do with their traffic is wasteful and not needed as the bigger, more expensive ones can deal with that.
>It is not very secure having odd 5 port switches free as any one can plug a system in and the switch can't block the mac as multiple systems use it.
If there's sufficient available network drops (at the right place in the room(s)), then there's little utility for end-users and yes, it's an unmonitored point of failure and an unnecessary power draw. Do you have sufficient drops where end-users need them?
Have you asked your end-users why they're still using them?
Personally I would try and remove those smaller switches by either running new cable runs back to your central switches or if that's not practical due to distance then some smaller network cabinets with a 24 port switch in closer to where you need them.
I would start making one brand switches for whole network. Remove small switches, hubs etc and replace them with something decent. I had here 3coms and planet switches, and few netgear - all entry level not managed. I replace gradually all of them with HP procurve range - not mega expensive, good quality, lifetime warranty. Network feels mu better, nothing locks up or crush and you can use free management console for all switches. But there are many more solutions, but defo I would stick with one brand.
I've had the same issue here, before I joined if there was only 1 point in a room but 2+ devices were required a mini switch would be installed. Where there are only 2 devices that need a port I usually stick in splitters instead, if more are needed its time to start cabling in extra points.
I still dislike using splitters but as long as your not planning to provide gbit to the desktop or need poe on the port its not really an issue... it does get a little messy though