Although our world is becoming increasingly wireless, businesses have primarily remained wired. There is good reason for that. Wired networks are faster and more secure than wireless ones. Whether your business is large or small, it is crucial that the office runs smoothly. Everything possible needs to be done to avoid internet slowdowns and drops or attacks by cybercriminals. That is why Planet Technology USA recommends small business owners use a wired network. The backbone of any connected network is the switch. This article will discuss why an 8-port switch is a smart and cost-effective solution for any small business (SMB).
What does a switch do?
Switches are power sourcing equipment (PSE) that power and connect network devices using Ethernet cables. The switch allows the devices on the network to communicate. Switches can do many things for an SMB. An 8-port switch offers:
- High network speed
- Secure data
- High-quality voice for business calls
- Affordability without sacrificing quality
- Easy and cost-effective setup: saves time and no need for expensive professionals
Why does a small business need an 8-port switch?
The network switch is a fundamental component of any SMB network. It is the mainstay that connects people and devices in an office— it facilitates employee collaboration and productivity. Moreover, a top-notch network system is paramount in today’s ultra-competitive business environment, where customers expect high-quality communication and service. The 8-port switch is an affordable solution that fits that bill.
What to consider when choosing an 8-port switch?
By definition, small businesses need to watch their bottom line. Therefore, all purchases must be carefully planned. This is especially true when it comes to networking equipment. There are many types of switches on the market. Following are several considerations to help guide your purchase of an 8-port switch.
1) Power over Ethernet (PoE) Switch vs. Non-PoE Switch
First, let’s talk about power over Ethernet technology.
What is PoE?
PoE is a revolutionary technology that enables a single Ethernet cable to provide both power and data to PoE-enabled devices. PoE has many advantages:
- As PoE delivers power and data over one standard Ethernet cable, it eliminates the need for AC/DC power supplies and outlets. As a result, PoE-enabled devices can be located in remote areas without the need for an electrical outlet.
- Installation is easy and does not require the services of an electrician. In addition, Ethernet cabling is inexpensive, and already existing wiring can be repurposed for PoE.
- PoE has fewer points of failure. When PoE switches (or PoE injectors) are connected to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) (also known as a battery backup), PoE-enabled devices are guaranteed a constant power supply.
- PoE is inherently safe. It is low-voltage and has built-in safety protocols that save powered devices (PDs) from damage.
- PoE’s distance limitation is 100 meters (328 feet); however, the distance can be easily extended with the use of inexpensive PoE extenders that can be daisy-chained up to lengths in the range of 610 meters (approximately 2,000 feet).
The PoE Switch
A PoE switch is a standard Fast Ethernet or Gigabit network switch integrated with power over Ethernet technology. This means it provides both power and data communications over a single RJ45 network cable to PoE-enabled edge devices such as VoIP phones, IP cameras, and wireless access points (WAPs). All PoE switches conform to IEEE 802.3af, 802.3at, or 802.3bt standards.
Note: One of the most common applications for an 8-port PoE switch is the IP camera.
The Non-PoE Switch
As the name suggests, the non-PoE switch does not use PoE technology. This means it provides network connectivity only; it is not a power source. Additional electrical wires and outlets must be made available to power the network.
These switches are suitable for non-powered network devices, such as PCs and laptops. They are most often deployed in offices, hotels, and other multi-dwelling facilities with a wired Ethernet wall outlet in each unit.
2) Network Speed
Network switch speeds vary. Fixed-configuration switches can be found in the following speeds:
- Fast Ethernet (10/100 Mbps)
- Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 Mbps
- Ten Gigabit (10/100/1000/10000 Mbps)
- And even 40/100 Gbps
Considering the speed, power consumption, and cost, we recommend Gigabit Ethernet. This speed is more than capable of handling the operations of any SMB.
3) Number of Ports
Switches come in models with anywhere from 4 to 48 ports. In general terms, the more ports a switch has, the lower the cost of a single port. However, this does not necessarily mean “the more, the better.” The number of employees determines the number of ports needed. SMBs commonly deploy switches with 8, 12, or 16 ports.
4) Management Type of the 8-Port Switch
Switches come in three basic management types.
The Unmanaged Switch
An unmanaged switch is often called a “plug-and-play” switch. It is a fixed-configuration switch, and it is as simple as it gets. These switches are used to connect Ethernet devices in small networks or to add temporary groups of systems in large networks. Unmanaged switches have the following advantages for SMBs:
- They are less expensive
- They come with built-in Quality of Service (QoS)
- They come with some rudimentary security protocols
- Easy installation
- No configuration required
The Smart Switch
If you desire a bit more control and some customization, consider a smart switch. Smart switches are fixed-configuration devices; however, they have some management features, such as:
- Port monitoring
- Link aggregation
- Better security protocols
They do NOT have Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) or Command Link Interface (CLI).
Smart switches are usually deployed in large networks; however, if your SMB has minimal infrastructure requirements, a smart switch could work well for you.
The Managed Switch
The last type of fixed-configuration switch is the managed switch. Managed switches are hugely popular because local area networks (LANs) can be controlled, customized, managed, configured, and monitored. Features include:
- RSTP (Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol)
- Redundancy capabilities
- VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks)
- LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol)
PLANET Technology USA has an extensive line of PoE switches for any type of business. Check out our FGSD-1008HPS 8-Port Managed PoE Switch. We take pride in our top-quality products and our stellar customer service. Contact us today!