Tag Archives: data switch

How to Mount a Network Switch to a Rack?

A network switch has been recognized as one of the most important devices for today’s networking technology. It allows simultaneous transmission of multiple packets and partition a network more efficiently than bridges or routers. The rack mount switch can be installed in a standard 19-inch equipment rack or on a desktop or shelf. So how do you mount a network switch to a rack to establish network wiring connections? Here’s a step-by-step guide to teach you how to mount a network switch to a rack.

Preparations Before Mounting the Network Switch

Before rack mounting the switch, please pay attention to the following factors:

  • Location: The site should be at the center of all the devices you want to link and near a power outlet, so that it is accessible for installing, cabling and maintaining the devices in the rack.
  • Temperature: Since the temperature within a rack assembly may be higher than the ambient room temperature, check that the rack-environment temperature is within the specified operating temperature range (0 to 40 °C).
  • Mechanical Loading: Do not place any equipment on top of a rack-mounted unit.
  • Circuit Overloading: Be sure that the supply circuit to the rack assembly is not overloaded.
  • Grounding: The switch rack should be properly grounded.

How to Mount a Network Switch to a Rack?

Step1. Attaching the Brackets to the Switch

Attach the brackets to the network switch using the screws provided in the mounting accessory.

network switch to rack

Step2. Installing the Switch in the Rack

Mount the switch in the rack with the optional rack mount kit, usually using the rack-mounting screws. Be sure to secure the lower rack-mounting screws first to prevent the brackets being bent by the weight of the switch.

switch rack

Step3. Adding Other Switches into the Rack

If there is only one data switch to be installed in the rack, then you can make the connection to a power source now. If there are multiple switches to be mounted, you need to install the another switch on the top of the first one in the rack, and then attach the power cords.

Step4. Attaching the Power Cords

After you complete mounting all of the switches in the rack, it’s time to connect the switch rack to the power source. Remember to verify that you have the correct power supply (AC-input or DC-input and the correct wattage) for your configuration.

Caution: To prevent bodily injury when mounting or servicing the switches in a rack, you must take special precautions to ensure that the system remains stable. The following guidelines are provided to ensure your safety:

  • This network switch should be mounted at the bottom of the rack if it is the only unit in the rack.
  • When mounting the switch in a partially filled rack, load the rack from the bottom to the top with the heaviest component at the bottom of the rack.
  • If the rack is provided with stabilizing devices, install the stabilizers before mounting or servicing the switches in the rack.

Establishing Network Wiring Connections

After mounting your network switches to a rack, you can establish the network wiring connections according to your requirements now. If you’re using a Gigabit Ethernet switch, it can be connected to 10, 100 or 1000Mbps network interface cards in PCs and servers, as well as to other switches and hubs. It may also be connected to remote devices using optional SFP transceivers. No matter which type of network switches you are using, make sure that they are securely mounted in the rack and connected to the corresponding networking wiring systems.

VLAN Configuration Guidelines on Layer 3 Switch

As networks grow larger and larger, scalability becomes an issue. Every device in the network needs to send broadcasts to communicate in a broadcast domain . As more devices are added to the broadcast domain, more broadcasts start to saturate the network. In this case, VLAN (Virtual LAN) is needed to separate broadcast domains virtually, eliminating the need to create completely separate hardware LANs to overcome this large-broadcast-domain issue. In this post, we’re gonna expound the motivators to deploy VLAN and how to set up VLAN configuration step by step.

VLAN Configuration

Motivators to Implement VLAN

VLAN is a way of creating multiple virtual switches inside one physical data switch. There are a lot of reasons to implement VLAN, some of which are listed as follows.

  • Link Utilization: Link utilization is another big reason to use VLANs. Spanning tree by function builds a single path through your layer 2 network to prevent loops. If you have multiple redundant links to your aggregating devices then some of these links will go unused. To get around this you can build multiple STP topology with different VLANs.
  • Service Separation: If you have IP security cameras, IP Phones, and Desktops all connecting into the same switch it might be easier to separate these services out into their own subnet. This would also allow you to apply QoS markings to these services based on VLAN instead of some higher layer service. You can also apply ACLs on the device performing Layer 3 routing to prevent communication between VLANs that might not be desired.
  • Subnet Size: If a single site becomes too large you can break that site down into different VLANs which will reduce the number of hosts that see need to process each broadcast.

VLAN Configuration Guidelines on Layer 3 Switch

Configuring two or more VLANs to communicate with each other requires the use of either a VLAN-aware router or a Layer 3 switch. VLAN configuration can be accomplished either in CLI interface or in Web interface. The following video is a VLAN configuration example on FS S5800/S5850 10 gigabit switch.

Configure VLAN in CLI (command-line interface)

Here we take FS S5850-32S2Q Layer 3 switch as an example to configure VLAN. To create a VLAN via CLI interface, SecureCRT software is required to enter CLI interface, then perform the VLAN configuration command in the chart below:

Procedure Command Purpose
Step 1 Set the parameters of COM2 port Quick connect on startup
Step 2 #enter Enter CLI interface
Step 3 #configure terminal Enter the global configure mode
Step 4 #vlan database Enter VLAN configure mode
Step 5 #show vlan all Check the details of all VLANs on the switch
Configure VLAN in Web Interface

Configuring VLAN in Web Interface is quite simple. Just perform the following two steps and you would see the basic info of the VLAN that is created.

Step 1: Log in the Web user interface using the account and password

Step 2: Find the service management and create a new VLAN, and set its ID as 10 or 20.

Note: Ports configured to use VLAN 10 act as if they’re connected to the exact same switch. Ports in VLAN 20 can not directly talk to ports in VLAN 10. They must be routed between the two or have a link that bridges the two VLANs

Summary

VLAN deployments make it easy for network engineers to partition a single switched network to match the functional and security requirements of their systems without having to run new cables or make major changes in their current network infrastructure. The proper VLAN configuration on Layer 3 switches ensures reliable and secure data link access to all hosts connected to switch ports. Knowing more about VLAN configuration would allow you to use them when you need them and to use them correctly when you do.

Related Article: Voice VLAN Configuration Guidelines on Ethernet Switches

Related Article: VLAN: How Does It Change Your Network Management?

Related Article: QinQ vs VLAN vs VXLAN

MPLS vs Ethernet for WAN Connectivity

A WAN (Wide Area Network) is a communications network that spans geographically dispersed areas such as across cities, states or countries. A business may have a WAN comprised of cloud services, its headquarters and smaller branch offices, so the WAN is used to connect all sites together. The two most popular WAN connectivity options are MPLS ((Multiprotocol Label Switching) and Ethernet. To help subscribers analyze the differences between MPLS and Ethernet, this side-by-side MPLS vs Ethernet comparison provides a quick overview of the pros and cons of each WAN connectivity option.

MPLS vs Ethernet

What is MPLS?

MPLS is a protocol for efficient network traffic flow between multiple locations. MPLS operates similarly on a data switch and router, sitting between layers 2 and layer 3 network. MPLS uses labels for fast packets forwarding and routing within a network. In MPLS network, the MPLS switch (typically Gigabit Ethernet switch and 10GbE switch) transfers data by popping off its label and sending the packet to the next switch label in the sequence. The main benefits of MPLS network service are listed as below.

  • Reliability: MPLS is most widely used way to interconnect data centers with remote offices and branches to other branches since MPLS does require an entire block of IPs.
  • Service: With MPLS, there is a higher service level agreement that include delivery guarantees for speed and class of service (COS), unlike consumer broadband.
  • Labor Cost: MPLS allows businesses to leave WAN routing to the service provider and keep fewer WAN engineers on staff.

What is Ethernet?

Ethernet is a network protocol that controls how data is transmitted over a LAN (Local Area Network), such as those in a room, office, building or campus. As a point-to-point system, an Ethernet network uses Ethernet cables to connect PCs, switches or routers. Most desktop and laptop computers come with integrated an Ethernet card so that it’s easy to connect. Although the functionality of Ethernet is not as high-performing as that of an MPLS network, there are still some merits making it appealing.

  • Affordability: Although the scalability of Ethernet is smaller than that of MPLS, Ethernet is more affordable than MPLS, thus becoming the optimal choice for small and medium sized businesses.
  • Simplicity: Ethernet is best for connecting one data center to another, including using metro Ethernet to connect corporate sites dispersed geographically.
  • Professional Resources: Ethernet gives in-house WAN engineers control and responsibility over routing.
  • Disaster Recovery: Ethernet offers low latency and high output, which is ideal for disaster recovery.
  • Availability: Ethernet exchanges have made Ethernet WAN services available in more locations.

MPLS vs Ethernet for the WAN

Take a closer look at the subtle difference between MPLS vs Ethernet for the WAN connectivity from the chart below.

Parameter MPLS Ethernet
Scalability Scale to over thousands of sites Scale to up to hundreds of sites
Application Interconnect data centers with branch offices and branches to other branches Interconnect data centers
WAN routing Leave WAN routing to the service provider and keep fewer WAN engineers on staff Give WAN engineers control and responsibility over routing
WAN protocol behavior Handle any-to-any connectivity, including voice and video Offer low-latency and high-throughput, which is ideal for disaster recovery.
Quality of service (QoS) QoS options to enable preferential treatment of latency-sensitive traffic like VoIP Network engineers can bypass QoS complexity by hooking switches directly to Ethernet pipes
WAN management Complex Simple
Cost High Low

Summary

When weighing the pros and cons of MPLS vs Ethernet, make sure to examine your business needs and understand the resources available within the network, as well as what options exist in your geographic area. Most ISPs nowadays also offer an ISP-managed MPLS service, so they can manage the equipment, and basically get an Ethernet handoff to a switch, which is the so called “MPLS over Ethernet”. No matter which solution you would prefer, your network selection will influence the quality, reliability, service and cost of your WAN connectivity.