A network switch is a vital piece of hardware for any business wanting to expand its network. It enables all devices in a building to communicate and share information through a LAN (local area network).
Switches provide super-fast network communications between any computer, printer, or server connected to the network, allowing network users to be more productive with their work as the switch reduces workload from individual PCs and increases the bandwidth so that every connected device can work at full speed.
There are many switches available to choose from with various port sizes and smart features to suit all business requirements, and whether your business is small or large, there is a network switch to help your business.
The Purpose & Types Of Switches?
The main purpose of switches for any business is to interconnect different devices within that network while also improving network security and enabling you to control which devices have access.
However, some network switches do not have so many features, and this allows SMB’s to easily connect devices without needing to configure or control something.
Without sounding too techy, all files, media, documents, or any data is considered a packet – and these packets are sent from source (computer) to destination (printer) through a network, which uses speed and coordination to deliver the data packets to its destination as fast as possible.
Types Of Switches
Network switches come with various sized ports and speeds, making the price differ quite substantially between unmanaged and managed. Although new switches can cost a few thousand dollars, refurbished network switches at ETB and other refurbished tech suppliers are considerably cheaper yet still offer the same quality.
This type of switch is the most comprehensive of all switches and provides the highest level of security, plus complete management of the network. Managed switches offer businesses scalability with a large number of ports and the ability to block unauthorised access.
From a security point of view, a managed switch gives you more features to access control lists, the ability to monitor network-active threats, network communication encryption, and protection from data.
Benefits of managed switches:
- Minimise network downtime – The failover redundancy that is part of managed switches helps reduce network downtime.
- High-level security – Have 100% control over the network traffic and switch port access to approve and deny any network users.
- Lower labour costs – With the ability to remotely access the network, businesses can monitor network health without being on-site 24/7, reducing the labour costs for IT specialists.
Most small businesses use unmanaged switches because they are easy to use, and no configuration is required to set it up. All you do is plug it in, and it starts running, which is perfect for small offices where fewer ports are required.
Unmanaged switches are also more affordable compared to managed switches due to having fewer access ports. Although the security is not as strong, it does solve standard network issues, making it an attractive choice for businesses not looking to scale up.
Benefits of unmanaged switches:
- Simple design – It has basic connectivity making it easy to access the network.
- Inexpensive – Unmanaged switches cost anywhere from £50 – £150, which is far less than their counterparts at around £1000 – £2000.
- Easy Installation – The plug and play system requires no configuration allowing users to immediately connect.