Lan Party Network Advice

iGamer

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our clan has a big lan almost every summer, and as a senior admin with the networking degree, I am in charge of the network... ( 30-50 PCs & 5-6 Consoles and big screen TV's )

The past 2 lans I have have used 6x 24 port switches as our venue of choice is a long rectangle so its easier to have multiple switches. Problem I have had is that some guys on the outer switches complained of lag, I never could figure out the exact cause, but it was assumed that congested traffic was the culprit.
The way we usually do is have the Central Switch in the center and have multiple switches daisy chained to the left and right,.

Here are the Switches we currently have to use

2x Cisco 3524 Enterprise Switches
2x Dell Powerconnect 2224 Switches
1x Cisco 2924 Enterprise

I buy all my Cisco equipment from Network Hardware Supply, which the guy is incredible with great customer service.
http://stores.shop.ebay.com/Network-Hardware-Supply__W0QQ_armrsZ1

and he has a 48 port Cisco 3548 Switch for $60 and was considering getting it as the central Switch.

Suggestions? Comments? Hissy fits?

I have more than enough time to think about this as this year's was canceled and our next major one won't be till July 2010
 

k1pp3r

Supreme [H]ardness
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GB, nuff said

When you daisy chain switches you increase the risk of lag with all the filesharing that is going on.

We have brought 10/100 networks to their knees at some of our lans
 

Fint

[H]ard|Gawd
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I would do hub-n-spoke topology... if you have heavy file sharing, do gig etherchannels between the spokes and the hub.

But definately you need gig uplinks between the spokes and hubs.. 100 will easily be saturated.
 

iGamer

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yea, of course we don't allow file sharing ( illegal sharing at least ) adn K1pper that is what I kinda figured.

What size lans do you guys have?

regarding the gigabit, as almost all equipment comes out of our own pockets which aren't big in the first place., we usually have to work with what we have.. I am lookign into a couple 16 port Netgear Prosafe Gigabit Switches, I would love to go all gigabit, but financially I don't think that is possible right now.

I am excited about next year's lan as we got a new(er) dedicated Server donated to us from one of the local school districts,

For those that are inteerested..

IBM x345 4u Server
2GB ECC DDR
80GB Main Drive
and 250GB Storage ( both 7200 RPM )
WIn Server 2003 SP2 Enterprise.
 
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Fint

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Let's consider a daisy-chained network...
dc-bad.png


here, if a user on SW0 wants to send data to a user on SW4, the data has to pass (and use up) each and every link on the network. This is bad. If the link between SW1 and SW2 is very busy, SW0 gets shafted.

If you do a hub-n-spoke...
hs-good.png


Now, the data only has to go from SW0, to your "core" SW2, and then to SW4. SW1 and SW3 aren't affected at all.

If you use 100bT links between your switches (which you really, really should NOT do), then a single user (connected to 100mb) flooding data at line-rate from SW0 to SW4, if they are daisy chained, just ate up 100% of the network bandwidth.
 

k1pp3r

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yea, of course we don't allow file sharing ( illegal sharing at least ) adn K1pper that is what I kinda figured.

Well then whats the point in going? You really think there is no sharing going on lol.

Transfering a ISO over a network is considered sharing.

Have have many networks thati can't go into detail about
 

Fint

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Just curious iGamer , where is your networking degree from?
 

iGamer

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Well then whats the point in going? You really think there is no sharing going on lol.

Transfering a ISO over a network is considered sharing.

Have have many networks thati can't go into detail about

those are only the official rules.. I never said we actually stopped it. :D

our network is acutally a combination of the two.
Like this...
M.jpg
 
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k1pp3r

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those are only the official rules.. I never said we actually stopped it. :D

I understand that, the same rules are in place at ours. BUT as a net admin. You have to account for EVERYTHING, ALL your network traffic and design accordingly
 

aaronearles

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I can't imagine the game pushes much traffic, it's just file transfers that are going to make an impact, can you not get away with forcing the branch switches to 10Mb except for the uplink to the core. That way your backbone is still 10x fatter than your end user links, and the only people that suffer from lag are going to be the file transfer-ers.
 

Fint

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That way your backbone is still 10x fatter than your end user links, and the only people that suffer from lag are going to be the file transfer-ers.

Once a file share'er saturates the backbone, everybody else using that backbone suffers too.
 

aaronearles

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right, but it would take 10 people file sharing to saturate that backbone, instead of one if they were all the same speed.
 

iGamer

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an associate's in Network administration, but I don't get to use the degree, as there just aren't many jobs right now....


adn senior admin within our clan
 
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aaronearles

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Just to clarify, my solution wasnt to try to get around the star topology, obviously that is the only way to set this up, but if you went star with 100mb core and 10mb end user links, then it would take a lot more file sharing to saturate the link to the core, so if most people are gaming (@ ~85KB/s or so?) then the experience will be smooth for everyone except the file sharers themselves.
 

Shockey

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Why not input some QOS technology to set priority to the game traffic? Limit the file sharing?
 

djBon2112

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I'd definitely try a different topology, perhaps including bonded links between the switches (since you said they're enterprise Cisco).
 

aaronearles

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I wasnt ripping on your switches, I was just saying you're not going to be doing any qos or bonding since they're not managed switches.
 

moetop

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Get that 3548 and port channel with 4 100Mb links each to the 3524's yuo allready have.
So you will have 40 ports free on the 3548 and 20 each on the 3524's.

400Mb uplinks and 80 free ports.
 

iGamer

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I wasnt ripping on your switches, I was just saying you're not going to be doing any qos or bonding since they're not managed switches.

I know, its all good... :D even though I could do some trunking with the Cisco Switches, I'm jsut gonna keep an I on ebay for a couple managed gigabit switches. anywho I am off to watch ocean's thirteen on the 103" Projector :D
 

keenan

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I know, its all good... :D even though I could do some trunking with the Cisco Switches, I'm jsut gonna keep an I on ebay for a couple managed gigabit switches. anywho I am off to watch ocean's thirteen on the 103" Projector :D

Just keep in mind that adding GbE isn't going to do much for you unless you replace all your switches or add GBICs to them as well since your uplink is still going to link at 100mbit. Switching to a star topology and doing the trunking as suggested by moetop is going to give you the most effective use of your existing gear with the least investment, and should be effective.

Note that going to GbE everywhere may not make the situation better; if your ports to the users are GbE and you still only have single uplinks, it's as easy for users to saturate the uplink as it is now on your 100mbit system.
 

iGamer

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Roger that..

one question though, as I have not ever done the trunking, nor have gotten to mess with CIsco on a management level.

How would I go about enablign the trunking, do I just plug in the cables?
 

k1pp3r

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Setup the trunk ports in the switch first through CLI

Then plug the cables in
 

StarTrek4U

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Here's a guide on Cisco's website on configuring etherchannels. It also talks about doing VLAN trunking in the same guide which you can just ignore.
 

iGamer

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k thanks guys!

btw here is a pic of it off of Google Images.. :D

a1533461.jpg
 

pissboy

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I've found the smaller LAN party networks get more saturated with file sharing than the larger ones I've run. I think its because at large events there are more people playing games. My big (400+ person) event has a Cisco 4006 as a core switch with a bunch of gigabit ports. Each table has 24 people on a Cisco 3524XL (or 3548XL) with a gigabit uplink to the core. The uplinks really dont ever go over 150mbit or so with traffic. We've toyed with the idea of gigachannel, but it really doesn't make sense to drag out more cables when we're not saturating it.

At smaller LANs we generally use a bunch of 8 port gigabit switches patched into another 8 port switch and get no complaints. In years past with 10/100 switches setup in the same manner, we've introduced a noticeable amount of lag due to the congestion. When I used a single 100+ port 10/100 switch for a 50 person event I had many compliments about the complete lack of lag.

With as few people as you have at your event, and the availability of gigabit ports on all of your 3500XL switches, you should invest in 4x copper gbics, put two in one of the switches, and one in each of the other two and uplink the three of them with gigabit. You'll get more bandwidth than the etherchannel, and not have to over complicate things. When you're running an event like that the KISS method is definitely a good thing.

Also.. where is your LAN located?
 

iGamer

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Tyler, TX Our lans are very family-friendly, most of our member are mid - 20s or older. our guy in charge of sponsors used to be in charge of sponsors fo rthe Texas Gaming Festival (a 1k+ attendance lan party) in San Antonio which merged with another Gaming group a few years ago. so we are usalyl able to get decent prizes for tournaments and raffles.
 

iGamer

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I think I am going to get the gbic fiber Cables,

What si the best place to get those?
 

pissboy

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You know, I was talking about 1000baseT copper gbics, but fiber ones are really cheap. On ebay it looks like you can pick up a 5 pack of the 1000baseSX gbics (WS-G5484) for $35-40. It also looks like there's a seller with 10M SC-SC patch cables for $6 each plus shipping. You'll want to make sure your switches and firmware do support the WS-G5484 before buying.
 

YeOldeStonecat

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I've done a lot of LAN parties in my time, quite a few over a hundred peeps where we rented out big conference rooms at hotels.

Only 50x people...doesn't sound like it needs more than a few seconds of thought.

Patch cables are cheaper than switches.
Don't keep daisy chaining switches into switches into switches into switches....end result being that the poor booger pickers down at the end of the table are passing through 5x switches before their packets hit the server.

You want your server(s) plugged into the top level switch.
You want nothing else plugged into that top level switch except uplinks to your other switches. Now...use a little common sense and place those "other switches" properly, so that from those switches...you can run patch cables to all the seats/nodes where booger pickers will be sitting with their rigs.

You want decent quality switches...getting some el cheapo 19 dollar 48 port gigabit switch will just crumble under load. Gigabit is nice, but honestly not show stopper if you don't have one. Gaming is lots of little packets, not a few huge ones.

Speaking of huge files...you're all here to game, not swap files. The focus is on a good gaming experience for all, your focus is to get to the LAN party..setup your rig, and get to gaming ASAP. Not spend hours fixing that busted junk PC with a NIC that doesn't work and then going "Oh wait...what games are we playing..what maps do I need...what patches do I need?"

Use a little common sense, distribute the rules BEFORE the LAN party. We're playing //these games, using //these maps and //these patches. Have your gaming PC all set with those BEFORE you arrive.

Swapping files..you're asked to leave because you're ruining it for everyone else
Trying to grind/hack into the gaming server...or someone elses rig...you're asked to leave
In the rules tell people to have good healthy clean (malware free) PCs before they arrive
Tell people to bring surge strips and patch cables, and not to being their uber megawatt 7x piece surround sound speaker system so they can do a "LOOK AT ME AND MY SOUND" drown out everyone else.

Do yourself a favor and put your server(s) on beefy battery backup units, now and then you'll do a LAN party at a location where the electrical system won't deal with it well. Sucks having a breaker pop, server drops, server has problems booting back up. Put your switch(es) on them too if you can. I've been at one large LAN party where we kept blowing the breaker for the convention room..and after the 5th time or so the central switch we had..some Catalyst 3550 or something...didn't want to come back up for a while.

Seriously, make a list of rules to distribute, you're there to game, not to waste hours of precious time troubleshooting peoples crappy rigs or trying to fix a network lagged down by a few 'tards swapping gigs of porn.
 
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