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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am upgrading my home network as I have run out of ports on my Cisco SG100-24 unmanaged switch. I have purchased another SG100-24 which will give me the ports required. My question is how best to connect them. I am currently using the Rogers CGN3 (in bridged mode) to a Cisco RV320 router to the first SG100-24. I see two obvious options here one being just daisy chain them or just connect them each to the router as more of a tree approach. I also have a 8 port switch (SG200-08) but not sure I need it any longer with the new 24 port switch though it is a "Smart-Switch"

I would appreciate thoughts and suggestions.

Thx
 

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I would connect the two SG100-24s together. That way, there is one less hop between devices on each switch. Either way, it won't make a lot of difference in practice. The best way would be to use a 48 port switch. Joining two switches has the potential to make the cable between them a bottleneck. That would only happen if it becomes saturated, such as when copying files at full speed, but it could happen.
 

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I would appreciate thoughts and suggestions.
That would depend on your needs. Do all devices require more or less equal traffic to the Internet? Do you have a lot of traffic between all those devices? Or groups of devices? Generally speaking though, just connect both switches directly to the router. I assume all those devices support spanning tree, so you could also run a connection between the 2 switches, to provide a fallback path to the router. If you do that though, you may want to worry about which device will be the route switch, which will be determined by the lowest MAC address, unless you can set the priority on the router's LAN switch. If the router has the lowest MAC, it will become root and both switches will forward traffic directly to it. If one of the switches has a lower MAC, then it will become root and the other switch will daisy chain through it to reach the router. If you can set the priority on the router, set it to some value below 32768, in increments of 4096.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
James, the SG200 series does support STP but the SG100s do not (fully unmanaged switches as far as I can determine). I am a bit concerned about causing a loop with connecting both switches to the router - what instances would cause a loop in this case?
 

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^^^^
Many unmanaged switches do too. I have a Cisco SD2 16 16 port 100 Mb switch here that does. On the other hand, I also have a cheap 8 port switch that doesn't. You can tell by running Wireshark on a computer connected to the switch and watching for the spanning tree or rapid spanning tree frames.. Switches can run STP without being managed, though you'd need that if you want to change the priority. To capture only STP, enter stp in the Capture filter box.


You'd get a loop if you have a path from one switch through one or more other switches and back to the first one again. Switches without STP will allow the loop, those with it won't.

Just connect the 2 switches to the router, without a cable between the switches and it should be OK.
 

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In a somewhat related question - is there anything wrong with cascading switches? I have been doing it for years but I have seen some people say that you shouldn't really do this as it can cause problems. I mainly do this in rooms where I have more devices than drops.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@Wayne - from what I can tell no one has said that cascading (within reason) switches as you describe is detrimental in a home environment. There are limits obviously and switch after switch after switch enough times will create the bottle neck (potentially) described by ExDilbert.

In the end, I elected to connect each switch (3) plus my WAP to the Router and use VLANs between the switches (separate topic). This seemed most logical from a use point of view and allowed me to establish usage controls on the kids rooms (time limits, separate firewall rules etc.) plus add an extra layer (albeit minor) of security between the kids and the rest of the house.

Bottom line is I think you will be fine and like you, this is the way I did it for years as well.
 

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is there anything wrong with cascading switches?
The only issue is the traffic may pass through more switches than necessary, thus increasing delay. In large networks the practice is to have multiple layers. The layer closest to the users is called the access layer and those switches connect to the distribution layer. Multiple distribution layer switches connect to the core layer, so you have sort of a tree structure. This will minimize the number of switches along the path.
 

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cascading (imo) is really only relevant depending on physical layout

ie

if the switches all physically live in the same room/shelf/cabinet there's no reason to cascade. each switch gets a discrete connection to the router unless you've run out of router ports


on the other hand (and this is how I've done it typically) if you've got a main telco/network room, and you need to add ports at a distant location (say the main tv cause now you need to add a wired ps4, or xbox or whatever) I'd add a small 4-8 port switch there


In the home, I wouldn't really worry too much about cascading, unless you're just endlessly daisy chaining switchs and hubs cause you have them kicking around....
 

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Running separate cables back to a single main switch is ideal but not always feasible. That provides maximum throughput since most switches guarantee full speed between any two ports. A 24 port Gb switch, for example, is capable of transferring up to 24Gbps of data internally. Two 12 port Gb switches, can transfer 12Gbps of data internally but only 1Gbps between them (vs 12Gbps between the same ports if they were in a single 24 port switch.)

I cascade switches without any serious issues. One is in the basement and another on the second floor. If all the switches are gigabit devices, it shouldn't be an issue. Just be aware that the total 1Gb throughput between the two switches will shared between all devices on the separate switches.
 
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