CISCO Supervisor question

Please forgive me for asking such an elementary question...

I've decided to implement VoIP within a small business I support computer-wise. It will grow from 20 to maybe 40 users over the next

18 months.

At the moment, the computers all connect with a mix of hubs/switches to 3 servers, and the outside world through a Fortigate 100A router. But the situation is a mess, particularly since I want to do POE to the (CISCO) phones to simplify wiring.

Naturally, I've found that ebay is my friend here, and I've acquired a C4003 and 2 WS-X4148-RJ45V modules inexpensively.

My question(s) : First off : Am I attempting to do something really silly ?

If all I want is (efficient) passing of packets around 1 subnet on devices plugged into the switches - do I need a supervisor module (like an X4013) ? (I'm guessing the answer might be different if there were only one X4148 - is that true?)

Does the answer change if I want to plug a (POE) phone and daisy-chain a PC connection (out of the back of the phone) into each port ? ( 4148->Phone->PC )

Finally : would having 2 subnets (1 for the phones, the other for the computers) make sense - or is that in the 'why bother' category?

Again, I apologize for asking such basic questions - but if I can avoid getting into setting up a supervisor module, then so much the better.

Thanks - Martin :-)

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I'm not familiar with 4000s, but the bottom line is that you need something that supports L3 (since you need to create two vlans and probably more in the future), and my opinion is that you do not want to create these on the router and get into trunking so that every cross vlan traffic has to go up the router and back down. Granted if its voice and data on the separate vlan, this may not happen a lot, but its still bad design. You also need to support secondary vlans on the switch side. Short answer, if that supervisor is the only way to get L3 capability, you probably need to pick it up. Ultimately some small 48 port switches, and one with L3 would have been fine choices (3550/60, etc).

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Wow, that gear is old. Hope you didn't pay too much for it. I had recently bought much newer 4506s with SupIVs and fully loaded 10/100's for something in the $2k range. While the 4003 and 4500 are very very close, taking the same cards, you'd probably have alot easier time with something that is still sold, rather than EOL'd last decade.. The 4500 also can source considerably more power to your PoE phones with the correct power supplies. If you look at that option, you must research those options first, there are *way* too many choices.

No, it'll work.

You'd need a sup engine if you want to configure your switch at all. Without a Sup engine, you have a basic un-managed switch, and won't be able to setup anything on it (like PoE) or aux VLANs. The X4013 would be your basic Sup II engine for the 4003, and would be good to have. Runs the latest in CatOS. The chassis's are really designed to be run by a sup engine, I've never seen anybody run these without one.

Your Sup II can do what you need for that Chassis.

Yes, that would be Cisco best practice, to have a voice VLAN (aux vlan in the old CatOS nominclature), and data VLAN for your network. Reading the docs are the best way to figure out what you want to do..

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Yes, the title is Catalyst 4500, but it also covers the Sup II for the

4003/4006. Specificly read the parts about Power Management and Voice.

You don't say how your voice phones are, this setup assumes your voice phones all talk to the PBX local onsite to you. If you need to start routing the voice traffic, you'll have to have an external router for this setup, as the Sup II can't do that (while a Sup IV/V can, but those are options only for a 4500).

Make sure to read up on the power supply requirements, there's alot of math involved for that, because power usage adds up quickly in a PoE environment, and dealing with huge power requirements becomes interesting otherwise on this classes of switches..

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Doug McIntyre

I don't think that the 4000 will work at all without the SE. Not that I have actually tried:)

The cisco guidelines state *strongly* (I think) that you should use seperate vlans for voice and data. I thought I would mention that I have seen a decent sized voice/data installation that did not bother, also did no QoS, and it all worked well. >1000 heavy users. However nearly all links were at least 100M and many GBE. On some slower links (2M) QoS was used where voice and data shared the same link.

Even on new installations where the equipment would allow seperate vlans we stuck to the tried and tested model. Windows PCs, printers, phones on one VLAN. Servers were seperate.

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I hope you didn't pay too much for the 4000, that was not a very good choice. It is both EoS and EoL. A 4K chassis requires a supervisor to work. For future reference, eBay IS NOT YOUR FRIEND when buying used Cisco equipment. First, there is no guarantee that it will work, second you can't return it, third, if it breaks in a month you're screwed, and fourth, you are risking your company getting sued because you need a software license from Cisco to use it. Software licenses are NOT transferrable. Buy from a reputable used Cisco vendor, which will include the software licenses you need, the product will have a warranty, you can return it (or get a credit) if you find out you ordered the wrong part, and most importantly they will give you ADVICE as to what you should purchase based upon your requirements. The reason crap like this is sold on eBay is because it is crap! Great if you need something really cheap to use at home, but it's not appropriate to use in a business IMHO.

You do want to have separate VLANs for both voice and data and is a best practice. This is a very simple configuration when using Cisco switches and Cisco phones. You can use the PC port on the phone for your PC's (which are in the data vlan), and the phone will be in the voice vlan.

If you want the least expensive solution, I would go with 24 Port 2960 PoE switches (currently Cisco does not offer a 48-port PoE version of the 2960 but rumor has it, it is coming soon.) The 2960 doesn't do L3, but since you have a small network you can do the routing with a 2811 which can also act as your PSTN or SIP gateway if you are doing VoIP with your carrier. If you want to spend a little more, you can go with a 48-port 3560, but this does L3 which you really don't need on such a small network, and is about 2 1/2 times the cost of two 2960's.

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Thanks for all the advice - I went ahead and grabbed an X4013.

As for the ebay stuff being crap, I'll treat this as an experiment. If (a big if, admittedly) my time is valued at $0/hr, then my little set-up with a 4003, 2 * 4148V48 and X4013 have cost me a little less than $120 all-in. I'll happily report back on the failure rate...

On the licensing question, I'm a little hazy. Are you saying that I could be sued for switching on Cisco equipment that I haven't paid Cisco for? Is there some kind of EULA that I have to agree to before I can log in to the X4013? If so, then no wonder the equipment has such a low resale value. Ho hum.

Anyway - with so little downside, this seems like a good opportunity to go off and do some experimentation of my own. Thanks for all the pointers.

Martin :-)

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FWIW: Almost all Enterprise IT gear I touch only comes with a non-transferable software license to use for the original owner.

Cisco is hardly alone in that class.

Ie. Even windows boxes with OEM licenses come with non-transferable windows licenses that have to be relicensed properly to be resold. Only retail windows licenses can be transfered.

Would a single user get sued because they bought a 2nd hand piece of old gear and didn't (and couldn't) buy the proper relicense? Probably not.

Would a reseller? Maybe...

Now try to go and get something like an F5 off eBay and relicense that (if the owner has wiped the license keys). By the time you are done there, you might as well have bought brand new kit directly from them for what you have gone through and paid for old crud..

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