239 switches in a single mesh fabric
With the loop environment we only had 126 devices on it but when using
switches, each switch needs a unique switch ID (called a domain ID) that
means we can put 239 switches into any one fabric. Our switches could be 8,
16, 32, 40 port devices.
FC Switches can be connected together to form a network of switches, a
fabric, that supports the connection of several servers and storage
connections. This gives us much more scalability than the hub infrastructure.
This is an extreme example of how many switches can be connected together
in a single fabric without exceeding a 7 hop limit (Brocade).
McData recommended limiting the number of hops to 3 to minimise disruption
in a single fabric.
Nowadays, most people would use one or more high port count Director Class
switches instead of several interconnected low port count switches.