You own a small business or home-based business, and whether you offer homemade goods, or photography services, or counseling… you more than likely use a computer or phone in your business. Calculating payments, keeping track of shipping labels, or contacting customers… computer services are integral parts of any small business. So how can you make your computer or phone service work for you? Is a managed network switch the right call for you?
When choosing a network switch, there are mainly two choices, an unmanaged and managed network switches. While both switches will perform the basics packet switching a managed switch will be able to do so much more. Before we discuss the benefits of a managed switch, we will want to cover what a unmanaged network switch is.
An unmanaged switch is networking hardware that will allow you to plug in multiple devices into your network. In technical terms an unmanaged switch usually just performs it’s intended function of packet switching. They allow devices on a network to be plugged in and communicate, nothing more. Most users will deploy a network switch to increase the count of ports in a certain area. In business’ you are usually wanting your switches to do a little more as described below.
Having a Managed Network Switch will not eliminate all of the issues that face small businesses, but you can avoid some. A managed network switch gives you the ability to control devices and data on your network. It provides safety, security, and peace of mind.
By using a Managed Network Switch, you have the ability to control information more efficiently. Managed switches allow for the use of VLANs and tagging to control the flow of information on your network. If you take your network security seriously, there’s really no other way to go. They can automatically block new devices from joining your network. You also are able to turn ports on and off manually from a central area, should you need to troubleshoot issues on your network. If something like a loop gets plugged in on your network, some managed switches can detect the ports and shut them off before your network crashes or loses performance.
Let’s talk about features. QOS or Quality of Service is a feature that prioritizes data on your network. For example, if you want crystal clear voice calls and no drops, you can set your phone traffic to top priority.
With a managed network switch, you are able to deploy mac filtering or even a NAC if it’s supported by you switch vendor. The best part of a managed switch is the ability to centrally manage the switch and give you a overview of your network. Some dashboards can give you statistics like uptime for devices and performance stats such as bad packets or dropped packets.
How to Choose?
So how do you know what you need? Decide what you are wanting to gain from your networking equipment. Then, give us a call, research into different options that are right for you, and see what is available to you. Making the right choice takes time, and it takes knowledge. Know what you want, and work with your technicians to understand what you can do with the technology you decide on.
Remember, it’s important to keep in mind a few things- Performance, Features, Cost, Security, and Application – when deciding what’s right for your business.
Your business, whether big or small, is worth keeping secure and is worth the peace of mind.
Technician at Computer PRO Unltd, father of one, gamer.