Network switches play a crucial role within office environments. Switches primarily work to route information and manage different layers of traffic and functions within a network. This network may be connected via fibre optics, or through Ethernet and other connections, with the switch working to ensure that all connected devices are properly regulated, and that they receive the right speeds of information. Network switches are typically used as part of office routers and local area networks, and can range from simple hubs through to multilayer gateways that can help to boost security and ensure the optimal functioning of an overall network.
When choosing a particular network switch or switches for the office, it is worth thinking about some of the following options:
1 – Multilayer Switches
Multilayer switches are the most commonly used by offices to manage a range of different features. Higher switching capabilities for these switches include being able to balance Ethernet, fibre, ATM, ITU-T and 802.11 devices through a single gateway. These switches allow for differentiating between devices, and for the better optimisation of different layers to balance loads across a network. At the same time, these switches can prioritise and help to encrypt different layers within a local area network.
2 – Gigabit Switches
Gigabit switches are commonly used as part of high speed local networks. Many of these switches feature 8 gigabit ports, which have the capacity to handle large amounts of data without leading to a slow down in network performance. These switches are also able to recognise the length of cabling, and can help to prevent the blocking of data transfers. Gigabit switches can be placed within shallow depth cabinets, and can also be adapted to include multiple ports for larger office networks.
3 – Different Mounts
It is important for offices to think about the different kind of mounts that they will require when running multi layer and other network switches. A rack mounted office switch can be a more efficient option in terms of conserving space, while other switches can be set up on rails. A switch may also be placed on a desktop, with the size and complexity of the switch’s cabling and relationship to a router designating its location. For example, a network switch that simply involves plugging into a router or gateway will not need to receive the same level of physical access as one that may need to be modified on a regular basis.
4 – Media Converters
Representing a way to handle different media inputs and cabling, media converters can work as switches that modify twisted pair cables and fibre connections to ensure that signals can be received on a consistent basis by different devices on a network. Media converters consequently become important for LAN networks, and ensure that different types of technology can be used in transmitting large amounts of data around an office.
5 – Budget Switches
It is useful for an office to have a number of budget switches, particularly if there is no need for a more powerful switch. Switches that can handle 100 Mbps are common, and can be adjusted for 8 and 16 port connections, while also being rack mounted or attached on rails. These switches perform basic functions for networks, and are commonly set up to be installed and run without significant configuration and adjustment.
About the Author: Patrick Hegarty is a technophile and likes to share his latest findings about the elusive network switch with a growing community of online followers.