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TOPIC: Flat Networks Vs Segmented Networks !!

Flat Networks Vs Segmented Networks !! 11 years 2 months ago #10144

  • Tarun
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A network in which all stations can reach other without going through any intermediary hardware devices, such as a bridge or router. A flat network is one network segment. Large networks are segmented to contain broadcast traffic and to improve traffic within a workgroup.

This is the definition of "Flat Networks" as per google.

Now, what is bothering me is the fact that bridges & switches have the same functionality except for the fact that what bridges do in software switches do in hardware using ASIC's.

Now, if i have 10 computers 5 on each side connected using a bridge, then its not a flat network as per the above definition, but if i have 10 computers 5 on each side connected using a switch that results in a flat network.

If there is no differrence in the way packets are handled by a switch or a bridge then why does a switch results in a flat network while a bridge results in a segmented network ?
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Re: Flat Networks Vs Segmented Networks !! 11 years 2 months ago #10145

  • jwj
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What was your source on this information? Regardless, bridging and switching are nearly the same, except as you mentioned bridging is done through software while switching is done through hardware ASICs. Another difference is a switch has a higher port density. The only practical application I have seen for a bridge these days, since you'd probably have a hard time find a hardware bridge, is on a Linux firewall.

The terms bridging and switching can only be used interchangeably when you are just referring to the layer 2 forwarding process, as you can see. So to answer your question both a switch and a bridge will only create a flat network without the use of a router or layer 3 switch.
-Jeremy-
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Re: Flat Networks Vs Segmented Networks !! 11 years 2 months ago #10147

  • Tarun
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Ok, these are the sources that i used to concieve that flat networks are the ones that are not segmented by devices like bridges & routers:

Pcmag

Extremetech

TechWeb

These are the 3 websites that come up on the first page when i do a google on "Flat Networks", i did not bother to go any further :wink:

And, the reference which says that layer 2 switches create "Flat Networks" ( which i somehow have a feeling is correct ) is:

My Favourite Site

Thanks...
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Flat Networks 11 years 2 months ago #10152

  • TheBishop
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I think this may be a result of terminology geting bent over the years. Back in the days of hardware bridges and no switches, a flat network was a reference to a single collision domain. You broke up the collision domain using bridges. Nowadays it's almost taken for granted that the core of a typical network will be a switch, in which case using the classical definition you'd never have any flat networks since a switch is effectively a multiport bridge. These days I'd take a flat network to be a network with only one layer of switch in it, rather than cascaded switches.
Remember also that what might be flat in terms of collision domain isn't necessarily flat in terms of broadcast domain
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Re: Flat Networks 11 years 2 months ago #10172

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These days I'd take a flat network to be a network with only one layer of switch in it, rather than cascaded switches.

Ok, i assume that there is no other way i guess to explain the references i made in my previous post.

Ok from your post "Bishop" i get a feeling that you either want to say that now, if all the computers on a network are in the same broadcast domain it is known as a flat network because now almost all network have all the computers in a differrent collission domain ( thanks to switches ), or you want to say that if a network has only one layer of switches as opposed to cascaded layers of switches then it is a flat network. I would like to know what exactly should i consider as the definition of Flat Networks ?

I agree to what you said completely "Bishop" but that last statement of yours ( quoted ) suggest that cascaded switch fabric does not makes a flat network although all the computers on such a network would be on the same broadcast domain. So it negates the first assumption i made in the para above.

So i guess the only option i am left with after reading your post is that a group of computers connected using a cascaded switch fabric is NOT a Flat Network but if they are connected on the same switch then it makes a flat network.

Just let me know if i got it correct...

And also i would certainly appreciate if someone can direct me towards a correct definition of "Flat Networks".

Thanks ...
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Re: Flat Networks Vs Segmented Networks !! 11 years 2 months ago #10186

  • jwj
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A correct definition in today's terminology would be a layer 2 switched environment that is all in the same broadcast domain. I did a search on Google, and came up with this link on network design models which includes a good explanation of what a flat network is. Hope this clears it up.
-Jeremy-
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