Functionality and simplicity should be your guiding principle when setting up an office network. Networking hardware that might fit right now might not keep past three hearts. And outgrowing your hardware before it reaches obsolescence is generally thought of as a waste of resources.
You should know the basics about networking hardware before planning for an appropriate purchase.
When you decide to build a small office network, you need two essential pieces of equipment: routers and switches. Though they might look similar, they perform different functions in a network.
What's Covered Below?
Description of Simple Network Office
The Internet connection is gotten from a cable through your internet service provider. This cable is connected to your router. The firewall filters the traffic transmitted via the cable, then connected to a switch. Every network device then gains access to the Internet by connecting to that switch.
Sometimes the Internet can come from a multi-network IoT sim card. The single best thing about multi-network SIM cards is that they would allow you to switch between local networks anywhere in the world with ease without the stress of setting up contacts between those networks as your device connects to each service.
Difference Between Router and Switches
You can think of your office network setup as having a foundation of routers and switches. Therefore, you should know the fifteenth between the two as it would sort out a lot of your confusion about choosing the proper networking hardware.
What is a switch?
Switches help facilitate resource sharing by connecting every device. This usually includes servers, printers, and computers in a small business network. With the switch, the connected devices would be able to share information and talk to each other irrespective of where they are in the building.
You can’t build a business network without switches to tie your devices together.
What is a router?
Like a switch connects multiple devices to create a network, a router connects several switches and their networks to form a more extensive network. These networks might be across numerous locations or in a single location.
When you build a small business network, you need more than a single router. In addition to connecting several networks, the router would also allow networked devices and several users to access the Internet.
Selecting a Router for your Business
A router would revive a broadband signal from the modem and make the intranet and internet connectivity available to your device’s networks. If you own a router with 26, 24, or 48 port servers, it will be a network switch for LAN endpoints. Wireless routers usually have an in-built waterless access point that serves as Wi-Fi.
It would help if you ported an access point hardware into an expansion port for wireless connectivity from a wired router. You have to be mindful of transference rates for every port; some routers have built-in firewalls, and other less expensive options might not.
Selecting a Switch for Your Business
There are three basic types of network switches that you can select from when you wish to set up a business network. They are managed switches, unmanaged switches, and smart switches.
1. Unmanaged Switches
Unmanaged switches are the likely choice for most small and medium business networks. It can work out of the box and offers basic configuration features. However, unmanaged switches usually need a little technical aptitude to install and manage. In short, they just work.
2. Managed Switches
Managed switches give you more control over how your network would consume internet connection. Usually, IT controls a managed switch using the CLI (command-line interface). But newer managed switches now have a graphical interface they use.
Managed switches can be remotely adjusted and are ideal for satellite or large-scale office deployments. However, managed switches typically need technical training to use their feature set fully.
3. Smart Switch
A smart switch is also known as a layer 2/3 switch. It is an in-between for managed and unmanaged switches. It is smarter than an unmanaged switch since it gives you control over Layer 2 of the open systems interconnection model. But, if you need full-on Layer 3 controls for your office network, opt for a managed switch.
Though the above best practices and tips might be a good starting point, you should understand that every office is unique, and no solution fits it all. It comes down to how well you know your needs and how you can pair it with your networking hardware that is available within your budget.
When you consider that and factor in your growth scale, you will be able to make the most out of your small office network setup.