|This brings me to my question. Can a gigabit switch be cascaded through a 10-100 hub?|
If the gigabit switch isn't capable of operating at 100 Mbps the answer is simply "No!" A 1000 Mbps interface can't talk to a 100 or a 10. If the gigabit switch is 1000/100 Mbps, then it will be able to.
and there are three or four hubs and switches throughout the shop
If you really do have hubs, you need to get rid of them and put switches in there. Hub's, due to the way they're built, are susceptible to broadcast storms and other issues which is why nobody uses them any more.
If you're connecting switch to switch to switch that is called "daisychaining" not "cascading". Whenever possible one should avoid daisychaining switches as bandwidth aggregates. Lets say you have 3, 24 port switches daisychained. Switch 2 into 1, 3 into 2 In this example, switch 2 carries all the load of clients connected directly to it as well as all of the load of switch 3. Move down to switch 1 and it is carrying it's own load as well as the aggregate of 2 and 3. Daisychain enough switches together and everything grinds to a halt as bandwidth is saturated and everybody suffers.
Assuming you have some kind of central location (date center) for your external (internet) connection and servers, all edge switches should connect directly back to the switch/router in your data center (this is called a "star topology" ) In an ideal situation, this would be the same switch all your important servers connect to.
One last thing. When interconnecting switches the best practice is to use crossover cables for the uplinks. Yes, with auto MDIX it isn't necessary but doing so eliminates one potential issue and makes troubleshooting issues that much easier in the long run.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
message edited by Curt R