Network Building: Installing Switches

Installing a network switch is remarkably simple. In fact, you need to know only a few details:

  • Installing a switch is usually very simple. Just plug in the power cord and then plug in patch cables to connect the network.

  • Each port on the switch has an RJ-45 jack and a single LED indicator labeled Link that lights up when a connection has been established on the port.

    If you plug one end of a cable into the port and the other end into a computer or other network device, the Link light should come on. If it doesn’t, something is wrong with the cable, the hub (or switch port), or the device on the other end of the cable.

  • Each port may also have an LED indicator that flashes to indicate network activity. If you stare at a switch for awhile, you can find out who uses the network most by noting which activity indicators flash the most.

  • The ports may also have a Collision indicator that flashes whenever a packet collision occurs on the port. It’s perfectly acceptable for this light to flash now and then, but if it flashes a lot, you may have a problem with the network.

    Usually this just means that the network is overloaded and should be segmented with a switch to improve performance. But in some cases, a flashing Collision indicator may be caused by a faulty network node that clogs up the network with bad packets.