Benefits of a Hierarchical Network
There are many benefits associated with hierarchical network designs.
Hierarchical networks scale very well. The modularity of the design allows you to replicate design elements as the network grows. Because each instance of the module is consistent, expansion is easy to plan and implement. For example, if your design model consists of two distribution layer switches for every 10 access layer switches, you can continue to add access layer switches until you have 10 access layer switches cross-connected to the two distribution layer switches before you need to add additional distribution layer switches to the network topology. Also, as you add more distribution layer switches to accommodate the load from the access layer switches, you can add additional core layer switches to handle the additional load on the core.
As a network grows, availability becomes more important. You can dramatically increase availability through easy redundant implementations with hierarchical networks. Access layer switches are connected to two different distribution layer switches to ensure path redundancy. If one of the distribution layer switches fails, the access layer switch can switch to the other distribution layer switch. Additionally, distribution layer switches are connected to two or more core layer switches to ensure path availability if a core switch fails. The only layer where redundancy is limited is at the access layer. Typically, end node devices, such as PCs, printers, and IP phones, do not have the ability to connect to multiple access layer switches for redundancy. If an access layer switch fails, just the devices connected to that one switch would be affected by the outage. The rest of the network would continue to function unaffected.
Communication performance is enhanced by avoiding the transmission of data through low-performing, intermediary switches. Data is sent through...
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