Tech QOTD – Topic: Network Switching (Network+)


There have been IT consultants in and out of your office (and server room) over the past couple of days. This morning when you arrive to work you get several reports of intermittent network connections from people in the Facilities department and the Marketing department.

Examine the generic network diagram and answer the following questions.

Click the figure to enlarge.

Why are the two departments having network connectivity issues?

What can you do to fix the problem?

(see answer below and video response.)


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There appears to be a switching loop between the Sales and Marketing switch and the Facilities/Warehousing switch. Note that they both connect to the Master Switch, but they also have a connection to each other. Generally, this is a no-no because it can create a loop causing various network connectivity issues between the affected switches (which by the way could expand beyond the two switches named). Perhaps one of the consultants added a patch cable between the switches. Surely, further investigation is required here.

The easiest way to fix the problem would be to remove the additional patch cable (at the bottom left of the figure). Depending on the type of switches we might also consider incorporating the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) which can detect and avoid loops, and possibly prevent the problem in the future. But we need to look further – why did this happen? Was there a need for additional connectivity or faster data transfer rates between the Sales and Marketing and Facilities/Warehousing departments? If so, some other type of solution should be implemented. Perhaps a routed connection of some sort, VLANs, or subnets. But simply making another connection between switches will not increase DTR. Final note: You need a map!

Video Solution:

(Answer at 0:54.)