Question which is better strategy: include all ports needed in 3 switches or 2 switches

Nov 30, 2022
My small office network has 53 needed ports to hook up. I bought a 48-port switch. One port of the 48 must connect the router, leaving 47 ports open on the switch.
53-47 = 6 left to find homes for.

I also have 4 access points not considered in the 53. And those need PoE. So I bought an 8-port PoE switch.
1 port of this switch must be used to connect to the router.
7 ports - 4 (access points) = 3 open ports.

6 ports left to find homes for, - 3 ports on the PoE switch still leave 3 ports that need to find homes.

(1) Do I want to replace the 8-port PoE switch with a 16-port PoE switch, for an extra $60 over a standard switch, just to keep the number of switches to a minimum of two?
(2) Instead, do I want to buy an 8-port standard switch and after taking one port for the router, I will have 7 open ports. And then put all non-PoE ports on standard switches? This would add a third switch to the router.

I read once that having a lot of switches will degrade network performance. Do I need to worry about network performance in either of these scenarios?

Last edited:
My guess would be it all doesn't matter how you hook it up.

The actual answer is much more complex and requires you to understand exactly how data flows between your machines.

If for example you had 2 switches plugged into your router. You now put a machine on each switch and transfer huge amounts of data, assume they can run at maximum rate. This would max out the ports to each machine as expected. But it would also max out the ports going between the router and each switch. This means any other machines one those switches that needs to access the router or a machine on the other switch would be affected.

If you place both machines on the same switch then they would of course still use the port they are connected to but the data would flow between the 2 ports internal to the switch. Almost all modern switches can run every port at maximum up and down speed at the same time. This means the traffic between 2 machines would not impact other machines on the same switch.

So placement of file serves is important to consider. If you use cloud based servers then your internet connection will be the limiting factor and it really doesn't matter where or how you connect stuff.

Pretty much you will get the best performance with a single large switch but in most cases buying say 3 8 port switches rather than a 24 port switch will save you a lot of money and not have much impact on performance.
  • Like
Reactions: hot_cocoa