How To Set Up Switch Link Aggregation

Discussion in 'LAN & WAN Article Discussions' started by Dennis Wood, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Dennis Wood

    Dennis Wood Senior Member

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    Just a few notes to add to Doug's discussion based on a few observations and some research at this end. The fact that the QNAP TS509 supports load balancing on it's dual LAN end had me thinking about Link Aggregation and 803.2ad. We also had several workstations with dual gigabit ports. So a few surprises:

    1. The Dlink 1216T "websmart" switch supports trunking, but does not explicitly indicate 803.2ad support. It does indicate support for Link Aggregation. So there looks to be a manual variant of 802.3ad which is referred to as such on some switches. This trunking setup on the 1216T does not work on the TS509 NAS although you can configure the trunk and set the NAS to its load balancing mode. So everything looks right, and you can connect but looking at the port stats..it's not load balancing. Qnap does indicate that the switch must support 802.3ad to work with the TS509 NAS load balancing option.

    2. The Asus P5W-DH motherboards (older) have dual gigabit (Marvel Yukon) that don't advertise link aggregation. However you can go to Marvel's site and download their teaming driver tool..and it works. The software has you create a team, then add the two onboard NIC's to it. The driver allows you to choose Basic, Static, or Dynamic modes depending on your switch's capabilities. With the aforementioned 1216T the drive worked in static mode. The Marvell driver information indicates that the "Dynamic" setting will only work on switches with full 802.3ad support.

    3. The Nvidia (680i) based Asus P5N32 (older) motherboard supports something they call teaming with is entirely managed at the workstation and did not work with a tunnel on the 1216T. Having the teaming mode enabled made no difference in our tests, but to be fair, we did not perform the multiple client load test. It this works, it would be a very cheap way to get link aggregation working, with even a very cheap switch.

    In testing, the Marvel teamed NIC's on the P5W-DH motherboard did indeed work as advertised with multiple loads...the only Link Aggregation that we got working. The trunk was established on the 1216T switch and the driver on the workstation set to "Static" mode. Given the performance of this board with the onboard RAID chips, it would make a good base for an inexpensive server or NAS with some load balancing capabilities. We were able to hit the max tested transfer rates simultaneously to two test workstions (vs single tests) using this setup. In most cases hitting a single ethernet port device cuts it's output in half.

    It would appear that the standard is a bit loose and that the terms "Trunking", "Teaming", and Link Aggregation" may represent some, but not necessarily all of the 802.3ad specification on a given device. I would guess that if the hardware does not specify 802.3ad, don't assume it has support for the full feature set of automatic link aggregration.

    So the big question. Is there a 16 port gigabit switch out there with full 802.3ad support for under $800?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2008
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  4. roustabout

    roustabout New Around Here

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    ow! 300 for 16 ports?

    HP sells a line of switches, Procurve, that are worth looking at. They're managed and they have a lifetime guarantee.

    As long as you own the switch, next business day advanced replacment.

    If you're willing to use a web interface rather than out of band management, the 1800G series is very reasonable. 1800-8G is 8 gig ports for $177.66 at Amazon, the 1800-24G is 22 gigE ports plus ports you can play with other media in for $353. No 16 way, but the 8 way is very cost-effective for smaller LANs.

    Both of these are fanless.

    802.3ad is supported (and honestly, it probably is on the D-link switch as well, if not documented as such.) I haven't needed to return a Procurve yet (in the 3 years I've been using them, and that's probably 60-90 switches across several buildings, dodgy power in some, very warm telco closets, etc.)

    I've thrown away a lot of D-link gear in my life.

    If you want gig plus out-of-band management, you spend quite a bit more, but if you only need 100M with management, there's a fanless 10/100 x 24 port for just over $200 these days.

    -R
     
  5. Dennis Wood

    Dennis Wood Senior Member

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    You'll want to read this: http://forums.smallnetbuilder.com/showthread.php?t=463

    The 3Com switch does have full 802.3ad support...and it does seem to make a significant performance difference if all of the other factors are accounted for. The Dlink 1216T switch supports "trunking" or static link aggregation but this is only a subset of 803.2ad. Clearly the 3Com at $275 has a better feature set with VOIP VLAN, IP/MAC based ACL and a whole pile of other stuff. I checked the Procurve units out but could not find one with 803.2ad support that Layer 3 managed..and expensive.

    Btw, neither of the HP Procurve switches mentioned above support 802.3ad, link aggregation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2008
  6. DarkStar

    DarkStar New Around Here

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    You seem to be correct about the first one.. sorry about that.

    However, the second one supports Link Aggregation:
    http://www.hp.com/rnd/products/switches/ProCurve_Switch_1800_Series/features.htm

     
  7. Dennis Wood

    Dennis Wood Senior Member

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    I stand corrected. It's a bit more expensive at around $400, but you also have eight more ports. If planning a few workstations connected using LACL, not a bad idea to have extra ports on hand. One thing that is great is the "Designed with no fan" approach. The 3com switch has two fans and is noisy. The Dlink is worse. I'd pay an extra $100 for eight more ports, and .... silence.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2008
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    Intel NIC's and Windows 7

    I own several Intel pro/1000 GT PCI NICS. My idea was to team them together to get 2 x 1Gb/s trunks. I found out, this will not work using the Intel drivers. Intel's Advanved Network Service (ANS) that supports 802.3ad LACP, will only work when a Intel server NIC is installed. When this is the case, a desktop NIC might be able team with it.

    So, I have to install one pro/1000 server and pro/1000 GT NIC and team them you would think.

    Unfortunatly, Intel is no longer supporting there PCI-X server NIC's for Windows 7.
    They are supported by Windows 7 "in the box" drivers who do not have ANS. The only way to get the ANS to work with Windows 7, seems to be by buying Intel PCI-e server NIC's. They will not fit in "older" mainboards however, so you must calculate a new mainboard, cpu and memory to the new NIC aswell. Link Aggregation better be good, because it sure is costing a lot, to get it working.

    http://www.intel.com/support/network/sb/CS-030613.htm
     
  9. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    I have also found limitations for Intel NIC teaming in Vista.
     
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  11. Jeroen1000

    Jeroen1000 Regular Contributor

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    After closer consideration my question may also be appropratiate here.
    In the artice is said:

    "
    If two ports are configured as a single LAG between two gigabit switches, there will be two Gbps total bandwidth between the two switches (1 Gbps in each direction). "

    Shouldn't this be 2 Gbps in each direction as the link is full duplex?
     
  12. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Yes, you're correct.
     
  13. Jeroen1000

    Jeroen1000 Regular Contributor

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    Mr Thiggins,

    Thanks for the reply. I hope I may bother you with another question though:)
    I'm trying to get my head around the NIC-teaming story. Suppose:

    - Resources A, B and C are connected to gigabit switch 1.
    - Resources D, E and F are connected to gigabit switch 2.
    - Switches 1 and 2 have a 2 port trunk as uplink between them (2 Gbps bandwidth, full duplex)
    - All resources have Gbps nics.
    - IP-overhead, too slow hard drives and PCI-bus congestion are ignored: theoretical speed limits can be achieved for the sake of simplicity.

    Now, resources connected to switch 1 can communicate with eachother at 1 Gbps maximum. Same for resources connected to switch 2. Well, unless 2 resources are downloading from a common 3rd resource (A and B downloading simultaneously from C).

    Suppose resource A starts talking to D and resource B starts talking to E. That would be a "problem" if there would be no trunk, but in this case they both get 1 Gbps of bandwith thanks to the trunk.

    I hope my story is correct thusfar?

    Now, let's say resources A and D have teamed nic's. Can they utilize the switch's trunk to enable a 2 Gbps file transfer? This setup would cause resources A and D to occupy 4 switch ports instead of 2 (seems pretty straightforward) but will they use the switch trunk to its full potential?

    This way I could team the NIC's of various server's and provide them with a 2 Gbps link to the main backup server. Of course care should be taken so that no 2 servers get backuped by the main backup server at the same time.

    I hope I haven't dreamt up the impossible here:D
     
  14. Dawgneck

    Dawgneck Occasional Visitor

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    To the Top

    To the Top with a question....

    I am looking for a 8-16 port managed Gigabit switch that will enable trunking/link Aggregation with a Qnap TS-809 NAS. This will be used in a home environment to stream HD info to several computers and media streamers. I also need it to work with SMB.

    I would like to know what affordable and cost effective switches are best for this. I would really like a device that has the ports in the rear so the cables will not be visible in my home.

    Also, can anyone tell me if the Avocent Autoview 2020 has trunking/Link Aggregation and the other options I need?

    Any help will be appreciated.
     
  15. Jeroen1000

    Jeroen1000 Regular Contributor

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    Streaming uncompressed HD will (for 1080p 60 and 1080p 50) exceed 4 Gbps bandwidth (it's closer to 5 Gbps). So you cannot stream pure uncompressed-HD via a standard switch.

    I just imagine we may not be on the same page here. I'm a little but confused when you say "HD-info". HD-signals can be streamed (uncompressed) over cat5e and cat6 cables but the ethernet protocol is not being used then. For this, specialised devices are used which use the "wires" in the cat5e/cat 6 cables. This is useful for people with a home server and dual HDMI-out. It may be an option to consider:).


    However, when HD is still in its compressed state, it can be send over normal ethernet. I do believe we are talking about streaming too but the stream will be processed at the device which will decode (uncompress) the stream (which then goes to the tv using, for instance, HDMI)

    I'm sorry my rant isn't more helpful in making a choice. However, I have opted for Linksys by Cisco smart switches. The support link aggregation and have models with ports at the rear. Also keep in mind disk performance may be the limiting factor here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  16. Dawgneck

    Dawgneck Occasional Visitor

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    Sorry for the late reply

    I'm talking about compressed MKV files. The second part of your post is what I want.

    What models do you suggest?

     
  17. teknojnky

    teknojnky Senior Member

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    I have a linksys/cisco SRW2008 'smart switch' which does seem to properly support LACP, I have my readynas pro business setup with it.

    I have not been able to verify that I get a full 2gbs of bandwidth (I don't have anything capable of generating that much), but I have verified that pulling one cable does not interupt network connections so the redunancy works. The readynas reports the links as 2gbit, but switch interface itself does not seem to indicate a total bandwidth of the LAG.

    All that said, I went through RMA'ing 2 previous srw2008's before getting the current one that seems stable. The webview admin pages only work in IE, and the firmware has not been updated in years.

    But its relatively cheap and has 2 miniGBIC ports if you ever need to expand further.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  18. inkytires

    inkytires Occasional Visitor

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    Do both switches have to support link aggregation

    I have 2 gigabit switches connected to each other. One is a managed switch (Linksys SLM2008) I can configure to aggregate links. But the other is an unmanaged switch (Netgear GS108). Can I get the benefits of link aggregation with this setup?
     
  19. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Both ends of a connection must support link aggregation. You'll get 2000 Mbps up/down from any clients supporting link aggregation connected to the SLM2008. But there is no benefit from the GS108 to the SLM2008.
     
  20. inkytires

    inkytires Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks for the info. Guess I shouldn't have bought the GS108.
     
  21. Squuiid

    Squuiid Occasional Visitor

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