On 10/26/06, Burns, Bryan <Bryan_Burns@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

What's the best practice with respect to Ethernet cabling and
switches?  At what point do you cable a homerun instead of switch, upon
switch, upon switch?

My strong preference is to home run whenever possible.  I don't like having
switches outside of the server room or cabling closets.  I have found that
to be an open invitation for Mr. Murphy to visit.

I would also avoid "daisy-chaining" switches, particularly cheap ones.

We'll soon be adding one thin client and one Zebra label printer to 11 final
assembly lines and we need to run network drops.  The printers will be a
critical component of the assembly lines;  if a printer is not working, the
entire assembly line will shutdown. It's been suggested that we buy some
cheapo $20 four port switches and put them at each line and use an existing
drop to connect the switch.

I don't think the "cheapo" $20 switches are a problem per se, as long as
there are spares readily available, and the configuration makes identifying
failed items quick and easy.

One issue I have with these "cheapo" devices is the G*&(*)&) spearate power
transformers and flimsy power connection to the device itself.

The alternative is to run two home run Ethernet cables from a switch cabinet
located on a post in the assembly area to each assembly line.   But we'll
have to buy a 24 port switch and add a patch panel panel.

I imagine the cost of these is the real issue; as has been pointed out by
others, the cheapo switches are in fact far more expensive per port.  I also
imagine the connectivity expense wasn't planned for when the terminals and
printers were budgeted.

I would tell them to suck it up and do it right.  The cheapo solution will
work, but is much higher risk.  It will fail, sooner rather than later, and
almost certainly at the most critical time.  If they are in a hurry to
implement, start with that and schedule the cabling as convenient.  Don't
let this be a permanent solution.

Take care.

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