How to Choose the Right Switch for my Network

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A switch is one of the most critical devices that facilitates seamless communication between a computer and various other devices. It receives and radiates information from each connected device in packets.

Some considerations to help you choose the right equipment.


  1. Network Type

Unmanaged switches are suitable for non-complex networks. Most come with handy features such as affordability and plug-and-play functionality. If you operate a complex or growing network, a managed switch is best. The default configuration allows virtual modifications to suit your needs.

You need network engineering skills to oversee key functions such as port security, bandwidth allocation, and access control. Smart network switches offer a compromise between managed and unmanaged switches. The cloud management device enables network management through an intuitive online interface. It also allows other options such as virtual networking (VLAN) and quality of service (QoS).

  1. Data transfer rates and applications

The transmission speed of an Ethernet switch depends on the network requirements. Rates from 10Mbps to 1Gbps can be managed through RJ45 sockets. Modern enterprise networks require standard data transfer speeds of 10Gbit/s. Fiber optic technology is more suitable for large and long-distance data requirements up to 100 GB/s.

The device utilizes SFP modules to achieve efficient transfer rates. If you run a data collection application, a managed switch with dedicated ports is suitable for its sensors. Other important network applications deal with video surveillance, control systems, and backbone networks.

  1. Power and consumption

The PoE switch can power IP cameras, VoIP phones, and other connected devices via an RJ45 Ethernet cable. It eliminates the need for a separate power solution for your network equipment. Additionally, you can add an inverter to your setup to mitigate power outages.

Knowing your PoE budget is crucial before choosing this switch. This graph summarizes the power requirements of all devices on the network. The cooling capability of a PoE switch is critical to avoid overheating and disrupting the network.

  1. Number of ports

This number is crucial because it determines how many devices can connect to your network. A network switch can have from 2 to 64 ports. Before deciding on the right switch, decide how much equipment you need. If you add new devices in the future, you can always use switch stacking.

This feature supports configuring multiple switches as a single device. Switches in larger networks are easily integrated into racks that allow additional ports. The more devices connected to the switch, the louder it will be.

Consider network connectivity trends before choosing a network switch. One of them involves programmable networking, including software-defined security networking (SDSN). The technology provides comprehensive network visibility to improve physical and virtual security. Its components include threat detection tools, unified policy management, and user intent-based policies.

Next-generation switches should also accommodate emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT). As more and more legacy devices support the Internet, you will need compatible networking equipment. You can also choose a flexible Layer 3 network switch that combines the functions of a router and a switch. In addition to connecting devices on the same subnet, their intelligent IP routing enables efficient packet management.


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