Q

Layer 2 switch saturation?

If I have a simple Layer 2 switch, with workstations on port 1,2 and 3, and a server on port 4, and each workstation simultaneously transmits to the server on port 4, do collisions result at port 4, or does the switch sequence them through? What happens when a switch gets "saturated"?
You don?t have to worry about collisions bogging down your network. The way a switch works is that instantaneously switches the full aggregate of the bandwidth (i.e. 100mbs) to the port that needs to transmit data. This is done in predetermined amounts of time to each port. If the port has no data to send or receive then the switch will not give the bandwidth to that port. The switching occurs in nanoseconds and is transparent to the transmitting or receiving device. The beauty of the switch technology is that is logically appears that each device on the network has it?s own dedicated network segment. Since only one device at a time has the bandwidth, collisions are non-existent, unless you are connecting hubs to each switch port, which you are not. Don?t worry about saturation, the switches made today are very robust and can handle many more than 4 devices without problems.
This was first published in April 2002

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