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Network Backbone

Discussion in 'Networking' started by MichaelKing, Mar 31, 2010.

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  1. MichaelKing

    MichaelKing Thread Starter

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    I have a question in regards to a network backbone. From what I understand, the network backbone generally is capable of a higher throughput than other connections throughout the network. For example lets say that I have a network consisting of one hub, three nodes, and two servers. The three nodes are connected to the hub via CAT 3 UTP @ 10mbps, hub is connected to switch via CAT 3 UTP @ 10mbps, and from the switch the two servers establish a connection via CAT3 3 UTP @ 10mbps. Now if I wanted to enable quicker access to the servers, could I just replace the NIC cards in the two servers with a 100BaseTX NIC and replace the existing CAT3 cabling with CAT5? Is this essentially what a network backbone is? Please help me understand exactly what a network backbone is and how it should be properly implemented.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. warrior19

    warrior19

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    Have a look at Tom's Guide here: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/lan-party-how-to,review-496.html

    But basically as long the devices(switches/hubs) you are plugging the servers and user pcs into can support 100 Mbps (100 Base TX)...... If the hubs and switch only support 10 Mbps then that will be the maximum regardless of NIC cards and cabling! CAT 5 cabling and 100 Mbps Base TX NIC cards would be the way to go.

    Remember everything in the chain needs to support the speed or better though so................... SERVER (100 Mbps NIC/Ethernet Card) --->
    Cabling/Patch lead from Server to Switch CAT 5 --->
    Cabling/Patch lead from Switch to Hub(s) CAT 5 --->
    Cabling/Patch lead from Hub(s) to PC(s) CAT 5 --->
    PC (100 Mbps NIC/Ethernet Card).
     
  3. warrior19

    warrior19

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    The network backbone in this scenario would be the switch and or hubs as they are where you are connecting the devices (server/printers/pcs)!
     
  4. MichaelKing

    MichaelKing Thread Starter

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    When you say it would be the switch or hubs, what you are essentially saying is that after the hubs or switches are upgraded to 100BaseT capable they will become the backbone...correct?
     
  5. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Backbone is a relative term. It usually references a segment on your network which has the highest speed. These are usually where your core switches reside. In an enterprise setup, you have tiering of your switch fabric where you have core switches that feed distribution switches which then feed access layer switches. With each successive step, the "size"/speed of the switch gets progressively smaller or less in performance.

    As an example, in a design I'm implementing, we are not big enough to have to worry about distribution layer switches. So we have core and access level switches. But in reality, many of my access switches are the same as my core switch with the difference being less high speed connections on the access switch and the lack of the same redundancy built into my core. We run GigE through out with 10 GbE links port channeled together as the link between switches.
     
  6. warrior19

    warrior19

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    As it appears to be a small number of PCs and 2 Servers ....100 Mbps (Backbone) Switch and Hubs at the PC aggregation points (Closer to them) should be sufficient. ZX10guy's solution is perfect but may exceed what you need and your budget. Most newer switches are GigE capable but you may not need/want to invest in GigE Hubs, Server & PC GigE NIC cards and CAT-6 cabling for a small network!
     
  7. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    My example wasn't really about suggesting it as the design for the OP. It was meant to show that backbone is a relative term. In my home network, I have a pseudo core topology set up where my Netgear GS748TP switch is the anchor. My Cisco 2960 and 3560 switches can be considered part of this core. I then have a Netgear GS108T and a Linksys SLM2005 hanging off of the GS748TP for access switches.

    And we need to make sure there is a clear distinction between hubs and switches. There should be no reason to run a hub with how cheap switches cost these days.
     
  8. MichaelKing

    MichaelKing Thread Starter

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  9. schang626

    schang626

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    throw the hubs out of the window and get switches
     
  10. warrior19

    warrior19

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    yes but as zx10guy said 'backbone' is just a loose term grouping central elements of a network.

    In that diagram take backbone to mean the hubs or switches in each floor closet and the red cabling intra floors. I take backbone to mean the cabling/hub/switches I connect devices(servers/printers/pcs) to.

    At the risk of repeating ourselves here....Is there a specific issue you are having or is this helping?
     
  11. warrior19

    warrior19

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    schang626 :)

    Check which floor as 2nd floor might hurt someone!
     
  12. warrior19

    warrior19

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    And yes if money/budget allows GigE switches. No hubs really needed. Use 'access switches'(its just a term for the device that aggregates your device connections) and 'backbone switch(es)' (just a term for the device that aggregates your access layer). Put in simple terms I hope.
     
  13. MichaelKing

    MichaelKing Thread Starter

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    I don't want you guys to have to repeat yourselves, nor do I want to sound ignorant. It's just that trying to grasp networking terms, technologies, implementation, etc is growing ever increasingly confusing for me. I think I have a basic understanding now of what a backbone can be in many instances.
     
  14. warrior19

    warrior19

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    Thanks MichaelKing. Did not want to lose you with 3 of us posting lots of 'How much we know' as opposed to simple to understand answers.

    If you have the network bug and would like to learn more you could attempt to self study and sit the CompTIA Network+ exam which is a multiple choice entrance level exam for beginners.

    Even if you dont want to do the exam you might gain a lot from the amazingly free videos online from James 'Professor' Messer.... See the complete series of instruction videos at:

    http://www.professormesser.com/free...comptia-network-certification-training-course

    Section 2 in particular!!!

    The great thing is you can watch again and again.

    Hope this helps!
     
  15. MichaelKing

    MichaelKing Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the links, and yes I do plan on taking the Network+ exam.
     
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