Managed Switching solutions

What are Managed Switching Solutions?

Network switches are no longer simply devices for connecting multiple users and resources. Today, Local Area Network (LAN) switches form the very core of an organisation’s technology infrastructure. They also provide the foundation for advanced services including integrated security, converged services (voice, data and video), optimised application delivery, virtualisation, and operational manageability.

The network is now the platform for delivering an increasingly complex number of business enabling applications and services. In order to enable growth within an organisation and for the organisation to remain competitive, the network must be easily scalable and adaptable to facilitate the rapid deployment of new technologies.

At the same time, the choice of network switches must ensure the operational demands of providing high-speed connectivity, high-availability, and efficient and predictable traffic patterns are not compromised as the network scales in size and complexity.

Intelligent Switching solutions ensure that, through the use of best-of-breed switching hardware and design best-practices, investment protection is assured as the network scales to meet both current and future demands aligned with organisational growth.

Why do you need them?

As the role of the network evolves into a platform for the delivery of advanced business applications, so the demands on the network are increased. Today’s intelligent switched networks are required to address the following operational concerns:

  • Greater throughput and performance to support high-bandwidth applications.
  • High availability to ensure business continuity, minimising downtime and business disruption.
  • Support for converged applications – voice, data, video and wireless on a single infrastructure.
  • Integrated security features to mitigate against both internal and external attacks.
  • Greater management capabilities and visibility of network performance whilst reducing administrative overheads and costs.
  • Service and application delivery to provide a consistent level of service to users, with the ability to prioritise traffic flows based on content and application.

How do you get it?

The choice of LAN switches is vast and there are many factors to take into account when selecting a switching platform including.

The following considerations are just some of the design choices that need to be made when selecting a LAN switch.

  • Form Factor – Switches can be either modular chassis-based switches or fixed configuration. Modular switches tend to offer greater port density and media flexibility with hardware redundancy of key components. Modular switches are often deployed in network cores or where there is a high density of users. Fixed configuration switches are often deployed in the access layer and provide a cost-effective solution for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) or branch offices.
  • Support for converged applications – to support converged applications e.g. IP Telephony and wireless, switches require additional capabilities such as the provision of Power over Ethernet (PoE) and Quality of Service (QoS).
  • Layer 2 / 3 capability – Layer 2 switches are typically deployed in the access layer for basic connectivity. Layer 3 switches can be deployed in core and aggregation layers and provide routing capability as well as switching, with support for routing protocols such as OSPF, EIGRP, and BGP.
  • Stacking capability – Many fixed-configuration switches support stacking capability which can provides some of the scalability, administration and backplane performance advantages of modular switches. Stacking allows multiple fixed-configuration switches to function as a single device.
  • Uplink speed and media – Uplinks connect switches to each other, for example, connecting an access layer switch to a core switch. Uplinks can be either copper or fibre and often require media specific transceivers or optics to provide the physical connectivity.
  • Port density and port speed – Port speed is typically 10/100Mbps, 1Gbps, or 10Gbps. Modular switches offer the greatest flexibility as different speeds and port densities can be combined in a single chassis. Fixed configuration switches are typically 12, 24 or 48 port switches with all ports operating at the same speed.