Other Enterprise Network Switches and Hubs

A network switch, also called a switching hub, bridging hub or MAC bridge, is a device that connects computers and other devices on a single network. It is one of three network devices that connect computers to each other, the other two being routers, such as wireless routers and basic network hubs. Compared to simpler network switches, enterprise network switches offer complete management features, allowing them to be customised to an individual organisation's needs.

Advantages of Managed Enterprise Network Switches

While they are more expensive compared to unmanaged enterprise network switches, managed ones offer full optimisation, and their use can result in savings in administrative time and effort. Also called fully managed switches, these devices offer the full range of management features and the ability to modify, back up and restore settings. In addition, they often include features to prevent external attacks to the network. They are an ideal choice for large networks featuring several switches and connections.

Considerations When Choosing an Enterprise Network Switch

First, speed is an important factor. Gigabit Ethernet switches, with a speed of 1000 Mbps, are common. However, 10,000 Mbps or 10 Gb Ethernet switches, while more expensive, offer higher speeds and a degree of future-proofing. Second, port count, another essential feature to consider, is dependent on the number of devices foreseen to use the network. Some switches, called stackable switches, can be set up to work with other compatible ones to increase port capacity while still functioning together as a single switch. Lastly, consider the type of management features and its compatibility with other hardware on the network.

Accessories for Enterprise Network Switches

Most enterprise network switches can be rack mounted, and a good rack can keep switches and cables organised. Racks range from smaller wall-mounted racks to larger floor-mounted options. In addition, good network cables are essential for the proper functioning of a network. CAT5e network cables can support speeds up to 1 Gbps, while CAT6 can support speeds up to 10 Gbps for a cable length of up to 55 metres. CAT7 cables extend the 10 Gbps range to a cable length of up to 100 metres.