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Wireless Networks Thread, load balencing in Technical; hey everyone, iv been asked to expand a schools network for them, and require a little advice.. let me explain ...
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    load balencing

    hey everyone,

    iv been asked to expand a schools network for them, and require a little advice..

    let me explain the story..

    the school i help out at in there IT support dept got a new ethernet network installed 2-3 years ago. the installation engineers did everything normaly, installing a cab, patch panel, and a double socket per a class!

    when it was installed, class's only had 1 desktop per a class, so to save on cost, only 1 switch was installed, and only 1 of each class's socket was connected.

    they have now asked me in, to install a additional switch and patch in all the remaining class room desktops and the teachers laptop(that is the control system for the interactive boards) so that all sockets in all class rooms are connected.

    now sitting on top of the server are what looks to be a router(all well a good!) and 2 24 port switchs that are all connected and used..(they have cables comming down the trunking on the wall. oviously you can't explain what this is doing, considering your not actully here! hehe) this confused me though! considering they have a cabinet with a patch panel in...

    how would you recommend connecting this network up? i was just thinking of patching between the old switch and the new switchs uplink port. and then simply patching 1 socket into the new switch and 1 socket into the old switch per a classroom....

    only problem i feel is that this will cause a bottleneck on cable between the old switch(that i was going to patch the new switch into) and whereever this switch is connected..

    do you think i should look into the 2 24 port switchs on top of the server more? and maybe re patch it all?

    whats your views on this. i don't know why ALL sockets in the school wasn't put into a patch panel. and then we simply patch EVERYTHING in 1 cabinet..

    HELP???

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    m25man's Avatar
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    You must first visualise your network.

    Map the interlinks between the switches, links to other cabinets the posistion of your server and your internet router.

    Highlight the link speeds and duplex status of these links.

    Being a switched environment try and work out where the busiest links will be.

    Eg. Between server and switch and uplinks between switches.

    In most cases the highest levels of traffic exist between server and it's closest switch, the links between switches and of course the router and any local proxy server.

    Almost always the beginners instinct is to increase the link speeds where ever possible by upgrading switches or links but all you are actually doing is increasing the speed at which the data travels between a - b.

    Imagine if we queued for 20 mins doing 5mph to get onto the 4 lane motorway drove 2 minutes to the next exit at 70mph then rejoin the slip at 5mph for 20 mins the journey is somewhat slower than we would have expected.

    Add trunks to your slip roads and two or more cars can join and exit the motorway at the same time, they then disappear off to different destinations at the next roundabout.

    So using that analogy, if you connect your server using 2 or more NICS you will get two or more conversations in and out of your server.
    Join your switches together using stacking features if available or LAG's or EtherTrunking to increase the number of simultaneous transfers between switches.

    This is where forethought and planning pays dividends. If you spent the right amount of money in the first place on decent switches you should have all of the features to implement and expansion and improvements cost very little.

    If you cut corners on price and purchased switchgear with little or no management your options will be very limited.
    With cheap switches at best you will should be able to use adapter teams on your server that can increase the throughput from Server to Client.

    If you have switches with half reasonable management features you will be able to use 802.3ad to get better links between switches and servers.

    It seems to be the hardest thing in the world to get the SMT/SLT's to understand why we need to spend so much on switchgear in the first place, but as time passes and the network grows and they expect us to provide new services such as WiFi, Multimedia files, Voip, access to NAS and SAN's, IPTV, RFid, Access Control and EReg systems and run the lot through 20 £150 switches daisy chained together!

    If I were building a new school network I would settle for nothing less than a modular 4+ bay chassis at the core (at least a £1000) using modules (20 port Gig @ £1100 each). This will leave 3 empty slots to fill as needed (allow at least £600-£1000 per slot).

    Just to put it into perspective, Im currently working on a footbal stadium project and for this we have allocated a £50k budget just for the 5 switch cabinets, 1 Core 4 edge. Another £50k for 10GBe Fibre and another £50k for a new blade centre!

    So exactly how much do you want to spend on your load balancing problem?
    Wish you luck.

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    thats a point! i had never thought about a switch matrix(thats the term 3com us )

    iv got a funny feeling though. that the wrong switch has been brought! a netgear unmanaged 24 porter... luckly, i think i will just set this switch up as the desktop computer switch. in whichcase(as long as cables don't get switched around in class rooms. won't use bearly any bandwidth, due to the fact the workstations(at present) are not domain'ed up. and are bearly used for anything..

    wish i could do a better expansion. but due to the fact i don't even work there, i mearly advise and assist. i can't request or demand switches with "this and that" feature....

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom-Kirby View Post
    the installation engineers did everything normaly, installing a cab, patch panel, and a double socket per a class!

    <snip>

    now sitting on top of the server are what looks to be a router(all well a good!) and 2 24 port switchs that are all connected and used..(they have cables comming down the trunking on the wall. oviously you can't explain what this is doing, considering your not actully here! hehe) this confused me though! considering they have a cabinet with a patch panel in...
    Right, so you have a wiring cabinet with a patch panel in, but sat on top (or underneath?) of that you have two 24-port switches that have RJ45-terminated cables plugged directly into them? What is actually connected to your patch panel?

    You could simply swap your two 24-port switches for two 48-port switches. Be about £1000 for the two. Connect them together by aggregating a bunch of ports.

    --
    David Hicks

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    eean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    You could simply swap your two 24-port switches for two 48-port switches. Be about £1000 for the two. Connect them together by aggregating a bunch of ports.
    I think this might be a little overkill.
    I'm guessing Tom is in primary school and, as he said, his network gets very little use. Even if he joins all the machines to the domain, I'm guessing the server will be just sharing a few files and the main use of the network will be for the internet. In that situation, I doubt the end-user would notice if the switch was £1000 or £100 and the 'bottle necks' are probably in things like RAM on the computers, or general poor PC/network setup.
    I would suggest buying a £200 Netgear switch with some simple management features and some gigabit ports. I don't honestly believe that even gigabit is truly necessary and I wouldn't worry too much about bottlenecks, but you might as well make the best of what you have got. Tom – does your current switch/server have any gigabit ports? If so, obviously, use them to connect the server and the switch – if not don’t worry about it for now. You can always monitor the performance on the server and if you are finding the network card is peaking then whack a gb card in the server.

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    from what i can see, all the classroom sockets go into the cabinet, i really don't understand what the 2 switches ontop of the server do though!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom-Kirby View Post
    from what i can see, all the classroom sockets go into the cabinet, i really don't understand what the 2 switches ontop of the server do though!!
    Not sure I understand what you mean.
    So (I'm not sure about your networking background, so I'm not being patronsing, I'm just trying to be clear!):
    All of the wires come from the the classrooms and they are hard wired into a patch panel. They will go into the back of the patch panel. A patch panel doesn't do anything and has no power. It is just like having loads of sockets on one board.
    Then there will be network cables, going from the front of the patch panel to the switch. The switch connects the whole lot together.
    Here is a photo: The patch panel is on the top, and the switch is below. At the bottom is the router.
    http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/7...mmsrackku0.jpg

    Have the second (currently unused) classroom cables been terminated in a patch panel yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by eean View Post
    Not sure I understand what you mean.
    So (I'm not sure about your networking background, so I'm not being patronsing, I'm just trying to be clear!):
    All of the wires come from the the classrooms and they are hard wired into a patch panel. They will go into the back of the patch panel. A patch panel doesn't do anything and has no power. It is just like having loads of sockets on one board.
    Then there will be network cables, going from the front of the patch panel to the switch. The switch connects the whole lot together.
    Here is a photo: The patch panel is on the top, and the switch is below. At the bottom is the router.
    http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/7...mmsrackku0.jpg

    Have the second (currently unused) classroom cables been terminated in a patch panel yet?
    i have a decent knowlege of networking,(just don't let me near designing a university campus that needs high bandwidth connections just yet! hehe)

    let me highlight it all again..

    we have 2 sockets on the wall in each classroom. each of them sockets are connected(punched down into the back) to a socket in the patch panel.

    but, due to the fact the switch they have ATM only has 24 ports. only about 15% of all the class's have both sockets working.

    i am asking for advice on the best way to connect the new switch(that will be used to connect the remaining unconnected classroom sockets) to the existing network.

    we also have 2 X 24 Port switchs sitting on top of the server, what i beleve these do is provide the network connectivity to the ICT suite(that doesn't apear to have any of its sockets patched in(there are sockets on the walls behind each computer, but i think it just comes out to a RJ45 instead of a patch panel on the other end..)...


    sorry for any confusion caused
    Last edited by TornUp; 24th February 2008 at 03:13 PM.

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    eean's Avatar
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    Right, so you have 3 switches in total. 2 x24for the ICT suite? (that's a big suite for a primary) and 1x24 for the classrooms.
    Do any of your exisiting switches have a gigabit uplink port? Do you have gigabit in your server? How much do you want to/can spend on this?

    I'm thinking the most cost effective solution is to get something in the smartswitch range from Netgear. OK, not a 'proper' managed switch, but I don't know about you but I wouldn't know how to set one up properly anyway! If you want some future-proofing you could get a stackable model.
    Have your server on this, and links to your other switches - preferably using gigabit ports. You could also stick the ICT suite computers on it. Then use your spare ICT suite switch for the classrooms. I think (you need to check) that you can make it so the ports the server is on, and the ports with the links to the other switches have higher priority than the computers.

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    its not a big suite lol. 15 workstations

    allot of ports though!

    they have already brought a new switch.. just a unmanaged 24 port netgear switch.. i think im just going to have to link the 2 switchs together via the uplink port and just patch in the remaining unpatched computers, will this work? i know its not the best way of doing it. but without stepping on toes and doing allot of rewiring(im not the techie there! i mearly help out) its the only solution!

    i wish they ran all of the suite into a patch panel aswell would be so much neater..

    will take some photos when i do it. gonna do it sometime this week. so keep the help and sugestions comming guys. helping loads

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