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The Beginners Guide

to Ethernet Switching
F u n d a m e n ta l s

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

The History of Network Switching

The 10/100 Standard

Gigabit Ethernet

10 Gigabit Ethernet

Aggregation Switches

Key Terms and Technologies

Advanced Switch Features

Major Switch Manufacturers

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Right now is an excellent time for any business to look into upgrading
its network. The technological expansion over the last few years has
radically redefined business networking, as well as bringing high-end
equipment into the reach of smaller businesses at a lower price.

If your network is more than five years old, your company could be
doing far more, at greatly increased speeds, and often with much less
equipment.

This is largely a result of major innovations in switching technology.


Switches largely serve as the “overseers” in a network. With billions of
data packets passing around a network, it's the switches that are tasked
with sending them to their proper destinations.

Today, a growing number of switches that can handle routing and


“virtualized” cloud-based networking is further reducing the hardware
and software investment.

In this eBook, we'll take a look at network switching in the past, present,
and future. We'll start with where they began, and earlier technologies
that are now antiquated – yet may still be in use in some offices. Then,
we'll cover the middle and high ends of network switching at present,

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along with a look into innovations coming in the near future.

Finally, we'll wrap up with some basic terminology, and information on


vendor-specific features that a company looking to upgrade its network
might be interested in.

At the end of the book, any business should have a good handle on
where network switching stands today, as well as a good idea about
which technologies may be right for their business. The future focus
of this book is intended to encourage foresight; that is a good network
investment is based not just on a company's needs today, but also their
predicted needs in years to come.

To begin, let's start by looking at where network switching came from,


way back in the 50’s and 60’s...

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The History
of Switching
Like all technologies, network switching didn't simply appear overnight. Modern
switches are the product of decades of evolution in electronic switching systems, the
latest version of an idea that dates back to the 1920’s.

In the earliest days of the telephone, connecting calls were nightmarishly complex.
The caller first called into an operator, who then had to spend several minutes
contacting other operators around the country to establish a link between the caller
and the recipient. Usually, callers had to hang up and wait around often for ten
minutes or more for a call back telling them the connection was established.
In 1926, AT&T introduced the first true electronic switching grid, which allowed
telephone operators to establish all necessary connections at their own workspace.
Callers remained on the phone, while the operator manually routed the call around
the telephone network infrastructure within one or two minutes.
By the 1940’s, the first pre-computer purely electronic switches and circuits were
introduced, automating the process, and laying the groundwork for modern computer
packet switching.

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Many don't realize it, but the Internet began with the Cold War.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, ARPANET, was established in
the early 1960s, and was the first network based specifically on advanced packet-
switching. It began as a joint project between the US Department of Defense, and
several leading high-tech universities. In 1983, it would become The Internet, as we
more or less know it today.
The purpose of ARPANET was simple: To create a robust communications network
that was resistant to failure, such as in cases of nuclear Armageddon, and could
“intelligently” route packets to any destination as long as some link existed between
them. The result was the TCP/IP protocol, which is still in use today!
On October 29, 1969, the first truly packet-driven communication occurred,
between UCLA and Stanford…and the rest is history.

The Transmission Communication Protocol / Internet Protocol is the underlying


basis for all modern network switching. It ultimately combines four “layers” of
programming, to create a robust and re-routable network:
• The Application Layer: Any piece of software utilizing TCP/IP has
protocols within it to translate the data into the 1024KB packets that
TCP/IP sends around the networks.
• The Transport Layer: This performs the host-to-host
communications, finding and establishing a link between the sending
machine and the receiving end. This uses standardized routines, like
the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), to tunnel connections without
previous interactions.

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• The Internet Layer: Once the endpoint is identified, the packet still
has to get there. The Internet Layer handles the transmission of
data packets across the connected networks, while also handling
addressing. The common IP address comes from the Internet Layer
of TCP/IP.
• Link Layer: This keeps track of local network topography, and
provides the information necessary for the Internet Layer to
negotiate the changes from one network architecture to the next.
These four basic ideas together, create the foundation of the Internet: A system
where any device adherent to the TCP/IP protocols communicate with any other,
within seconds.

The Internet spread rapidly throughout the 80’s. In 1982, TCP/IP was officially
adopted as the military's packet-handling protocols. In 1985, businesses at large
began adopting the protocols. By the time the World Wide Web was “born” in
1993, the technology was already in the hands of the masses, and ready for the
widespread adoption that we see today.
Switching protocols have been at the heart of electronic communications for nearly
a century now. This slow evolution and development is what gives modern switches
their power and versatility.  

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The 10/100
St a n d a r d
Ever wonder what 10BASE-T actually means?
It's actually quite simple, and refers largely to how this early form of data
transmission was handled. The leading 10- (or 100-) indicates the transmission rate,
in Megabits-per-second. BASE means it's using the “Baseband” low-overhead data
transmission system, and -T indicates it uses a twisted-pair cable.
Twisted-pair Ethernet cables have lower inference than straight-pair, which is why
they're more common.  There are also several other 10/100 cable formats, such as
-FX for fiber optics, but they're less frequently seen.
10BASE-T was the first networking standard to take off on the market, beginning in
1990, but was largely limited by slow transfer speeds. So, 100BASE-T came along in
1995, also called “Fast Ethernet.” It provided a 10x speed boost but otherwise didn't
change much about the standard, cementing 10/100BASE-T networks as the market
winners in their generation.
However, 10/100 networks are still in use today, and while depreciated; it can still
have useful functions in low-impact situations or in legacy applications.

Legacy Data Systems


Many operations which ordered expensive customized software in the 90’s have
found themselves in a situation where their applications no longer work fast enough
on modern networks.

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Small Offices
While now outclassed by Gigabit and higher speeds, a standard 100Mb/s
connection is still perfectly adequate for day-to-day small business tasks. The
technology is utterly proven and extremely inexpensive at this point, making it
attractive for certain applications and networks with a limited budget.
For a home office or a very small commercial office with only a handful of people,
a Fast Ethernet network may still be adequate.  However, you will be limited to only
a few simultaneous streaming functions at most and there may be slowdown during
peak usage periods during the day.
Largely speaking 10/100 networks are not moving forward. The 10/100 standards
have been completely outclassed by newer networks, and they offer few benefits
aside from users in very specific circumstances. 

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Gigabit Ethernet
Currently, the standard in business networking is 10/100/1000BASE “Gigabit”
Ethernet. As the name implies, it retains backwards compatibility to the previous
10/100 standards, but once again adds a 10x speed boost for compatible networks.
It took most of 2000 through 2010 for the technology to become common and
cheap enough to be widely affordable, but now Gigabit networks are within range of
all sizes of businesses.
It's important to note at this point that the backward compatibility of Gigabit only
goes one way. It won't make older hardware run faster. Upgrading an existing
network to Gigabit requires replacing most or all of the older 10/100 equipment in
use, to see the advertised Gigabit speeds.
That said, many businesses are finding the expense worth it, because 1000BASE
networks can vastly expand an operation's horizons.

Rapid Voice and Data Transmission


The most common use for Gigabit is simply for day-to-day operations. The
high speeds and wide bandwidth leave room for numerous concurrent business
applications. Your employees will have plenty of speed for virtually any everyday
business use, with Cloud applications running at speeds equivalent to having the
software on-site.
Likewise, VoIP can be deployed at high bandwidth rates, producing sound quality
that's usually better than over traditional copper wire systems.

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Videoconferencing
“Telepresence” is a growing field in globalized business. Gigabit is basically the
bottom-level foundation for effective videoconferencing, especially if you want
document collaboration in parallel.
Security Systems
Your security system might not be the first application you think of for Gigabit,
but there's a compelling argument there. Networked security cameras can directly
capture and back up your security coverage for as long as you need to hold onto it.
Mid to High end security cameras and systems benefit from the increased frame rate
and the bandwidth Gigabit switches provide.
Platforms-as-a-Service
PaaS applications are effectively the new implementation of the old “client / server”
model of computing. The actual operating system for each computer is hosted
remotely, and runs through a standardized virtual environment such as Citrix.
While this might sound clunky, the upshot is that the exact same desktop
configuration and application set can be used on ANY device from ANY connection.
It's even possible, for example, to stream a Windows GUI to an iPad or Galaxy tablet
with minimal loss of functionality.
This can be a great solution for “office-less” company setups, or for when you have
a lot of independent agents in the field who all need a standardized platform.
Rapid Backups and System Restorations
In case of data emergency, hours or even minutes count. Every second your
computers are offline, it will cost you money. Gigabit can be a true lifesaver for
businesses that need to quickly restore computers to operational status, or transfer
a data backup onto the main servers.
Backup and restoration can be performed on slower systems, of course, but
the response time will be greatly decreased. Gigabit is generally considered the
minimum for achieving fast response times for system restoration in cases of
emergency.

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10 Gigabit Ethernet
( 10GbE)
10GbE was first defined by the IEEE 802.3ae standard in 2002. Unlike previous
Ethernet standards, 10-gigabit Ethernet defines only full duplex point-to-point links
which are generally connected by network switches.
10GbE is the natural successor to the 10/100/1000BaseT system, offering yet
another tenfold speed increase.  This can be accomplished over either fiber optical
cabling or twisted-pair copper.  However, because of the massive data rates, CAT-
6a or better type cable is required for copper and, even then, the maximum line
distance is usually less than 100m before poor signal strength becomes an issue.
Therefore, you can use 10GbE on legacy copper systems in smaller buildings, but
you're likely to get much better performance if you install Fiber cable instead.
In 2007 one million 10GbE ports were shipped, while in 2009 two million ports
were shipped. In 2010 over three million ports were shipped, and nine million ports
in 2011. As of 2012, the price per port of 10 gigabit Ethernet relative to its one gigabit
counterpart still hindered more widespread adoption, even though the price per
gigabit of bandwidth enabled by 10 gigabit Ethernet was already about one-third
compared to the bandwidth cost of its one gigabit predecessor.
Currently, Gigabit Ethernet is the top of the line when it comes to everyday
business connections.  However, that's not the end of the road when it comes to
current network architectures.  More powerful networks are already available (40
and 100Gbe), although their usage currently is largely restricted to large businesses,
data centers, and specialty applications.

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Top-Level Switching
A 10GbE connection is not going to make its way directly to your Wireless Access
Points for several more years. (See below.) The most common use for 10GbE is
at the top level; going directly into your main server or switch.  From there, it gets
broken down and redistributed among your various access points and other network
appliances.
Heavy Offsite Cloud Storage
One reason a smaller office might look towards 10GbE because they find
themselves moving a lot of data.  Businesses in this situation could include:
• Audio and video production work, especially at 4K, or 8K
resolutions.
• Computer graphics or CAD rendering.
• Medical imaging / DNA sequencing.
• Software development, particularly games, OS, or graphics tools.
• Large physical campuses with many security cameras to archive.
Extensive Telepresence Systems
If your workers are all over the globe, and you anticipate needing to host multiple
video-over-IP connections at once, you may need a 10GbE backbone to handle all
the data that needs to be sent back and forth.  This would be especially true if you're
concerned about keeping frame rates in the 20-30 range, for lifelike video.
Heavy Customer Interaction
Situations where your customers could be using many gigabytes of storage or
transmission are rare, but they can happen.  If you plan on hosting any sort of
multiplayer online game, for example, a 10GbE backbone will likely be the minimum
you'd need for stability.

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802.11ac Wireless Networks


If you're looking at putting 802.11ac Gigabit-speed Wireless Access Points in
your business, you'll almost certainly want at least a 10GbE back end providing the
bandwidth to them.  Otherwise, 802.11ac wireless access points may quickly deplete
your bandwidth.
10 Gigabit in Smaller Businesses
Is there a reason for smaller firms to go 10GbE?  Rarely, but it is possible. Prices
are continuing to come down, and a truly future-focused firm could make an
argument for investing in the best ahead of time, so they don't have to worry about
upgrades for a while.
Otherwise, it's looking to be at least by 2020, and the 802.11x standard, before
10Gigabit speeds are likely to make it onto individual access points.  Until that
happens, you're probably fine sticking with 1 Gigabit speeds unless you have
unusually high data demands, as discussed above.

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Aggregation Switches
The march of network switching continues onwards, with aggregation switching.
Simply put, this combines multiple incoming Ethernet or Fiber connections into a
single logical data stream that are then split among the various connected devices.

Fiber Aggregation is an all-fiber solution that can extend the reach and offer
redundancy between buildings in campus environments or between wiring closets.
These switches provide higher bandwidth to corporate and branch office LANs in
support of today’s most bandwidth intensive applications. They are designed as an
access layer or network backbone switch and are ideal for high-bandwidth VoIP,
Gigabit-to-the-Desktop deployments, and converged voice and data networks.
These switches are perfect for new installations or network upgrades and typically
feature 10 Gigabit or higher uplinks for the most bandwidth intensive applications.
Fiber switches feature SFP fiber ports that can use multi-mode or single-mode
fiber optic cable to greatly extend the reach to access layer switches. With fiber
optics, the reach of the 100-meter limitation often associated with copper switch
ports can be overcome. 

This takes multiple incoming connections, and combines them into a single stream
that can be split among your various network devices and appliances. This allows
you to significantly increase your backbone bandwidth with smaller

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equipment investments.
Besides the immediate benefits to hardware costs, there are two more major
benefits to this approach:
1 - Longer device life spans. Aggregation switching allows you to continue using
your existing hardware, while expanding the back end.
2 - System resilience.  Since a link aggregation switch combines multiple incoming
connections, that allows it to immediately compensate if one connection goes
down.  There would still be a loss of performance, obviously, but it prevents a true
network outage as long as at least one connection remains active.

Data Backhaul
Many network architectures leave sub-networks, at the fringes, vulnerable to
outage by having insufficient redundant connections going to them.  While these
"fringe" subnets are usually reserved for low-priority systems, it's not always that
easy.
Aggregation switches are a cost effective way to protect those incoming
connections, ensuring continuity of business across your entire system.
Server Rooms
As mentioned above, upgrading a backbone for higher-capacity technology
can often be an expensive process, especially when dealing with 10G or higher
speeds.  When you have a substantial investment in networking hardware,
aggregation switching can protect and extend the lifespan of critical systems.
Customized Packet Routing
Another benefit to aggregation in large organizations is that each virtual link can
be configured to carry a specific class of data.  Data / Connection pairings could be
based on overall connection reliability, or to put high-priority traffic into the fastest

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network connection.
In areas with a higher-than-average instance of disasters, this can allow you to
prioritize according to which systems you can afford to lose (and in what order). For
example, in the event of connection loss, you could choose to let your VoIP systems
go offline to preserve your Point of Sale (POS) applications.
Data Centers and Other Co-Locations
Cloud-based services live or die based on their reliability, resilience, and resistance
to failure.  For this reason, aggregation switches are increasingly popular in co-
located cloud facilities, as they add significant systems reliability at a relatively low
cost.  
If you're hosting a cloud server, aggregation switches make an excellent
investment.  If you're merely hiring a service, look for hosts that include redundancy
contingency plans.
Common Features in Switches
Now that we have provided an overview of major generations in switching
technology over the years, let's look a bit closer at the nuts and bolts (as well as
what they mean). What you will find below are some of the most common features
requested when considering a new switch.

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Key Terms and Technologies


i n S w i tc h i n g S o ft wa r e
Cable Diagnostics
Business-grade switches take line and signal strength readings that can be used in
a diagnostic capacity.  By measuring the output on the sending and receiving ends, a
network OS can quickly detect problems in the cables as soon as they occur.
CLI
Command-Line Interface.  It is basically a DOS or UNIX command prompt. The
command language for 'talking' to network hardware was standardized in the
1990’s across all network brands, and it hasn't changed much since.  Many network
administrators still prefer using a CLI for its speed and power.
GUI
Graphic User Interface: That is, any sort of "windowed" operating system or
application. Any reliable brand of modern networking products, like ADTRAN or
Cisco, has a graphical interface for their network software, so everyday users don't
have to learn command line prompts.  The best GUI’s have almost all the power of a
CLI, in a much more user-friendly form.
Fiber or Copper Uplinks
An uplink port does what it sounds like:  It allows a smaller network to connect to
a larger/faster network as a subnet.  In a typical network, it is used to connect one
switch to another, either by fiber optics or standard copper Ethernet cable.
Quality of Serive (QoS)
QoS is a big deal in modern networks, and one of the key areas different brands
focus on.  Broadly speaking, QoS covers any technology meant to optimize packet

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routing, and prevent data loss, to ensure voice and video communications over IP
create a high-quality experience.
VLAN
Short for Virtual Local Area Network, a network of computers that behave as if they
are connected to the same wire even though they may actually be physically located
on different segments of a LAN. VLANs are configured through software rather than
hardware, which makes them extremely flexible. One of the biggest advantages of
VLANs is that when a computer is physically moved to another location, it can stay
on the same VLAN without any hardware reconfiguration.
A VLAN is used to group end stations with a common set of requirements,
independent of physical location. VLANs have the same attributes as a physical
LAN but allow you to group end stations even if they are not located physically on
the same LAN segment.
VLAN’s are usually associated with IP sub-networks. For example, all the end
stations in a particular IP subnet belong to the same VLAN. Traffic between VLAN’s
must be routed. LAN port VLAN membership is assigned manually on a port-by-port
basis.
Link Aggregation
As discussed in the previous chapter, link aggregation takes separate incoming
connections and combines them into a single logical connection, to expand your
bandwidth on the back end without significant equipment upgrade costs

Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP)


"Smart" network architectures rely on the attached appliances being aware of
each other, and their neighbors' capabilities.  The LLD protocol is what allows this
to happen.  LLDP-compliant network equipment periodically query each other for
information such as their system name, speeds, and open ports.  This data is then
used to optimize packet routing and flow.

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Port Scheduling
The ports on your switch function something like arterial roadways leading into
a main highway and there's usually more traffic than open ports.  Smart port
scheduling systems use information about the network, such as through LLDP
discovery, to route packets optimally – similar to how a stoplight controls traffic flow

Port Security
Previous generations of network equipment had "dumb" security that mostly relied
on a central server to decide whether a user should be allowed onto the network.  
This feature allows you to limit the number of MAC addresses that will be serviced
on a given port. It can come with multiple options such as which MAC addresses
are going to be allowed on a given port, and what action should be taken when the
violation of the policy occurs. This way, you can further protect your entry point in
the network.

VoIP
Voice-over-Internet Protocol. This basic technology has been around since the
late 90’s, but today, it's taking over business telecommunications.  The combination
of cheap long distance, higher-quality transmissions, and advanced phone system
features, makes it an easy winner over copper-wire phone service.

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Advanced Switch Features

The basic functions of switches, of any size, are easy to describe and are typically
included in any standard commercial grade unit.  Hardware vendors are introducing
new buzzwords and stabs at standards every year.  It's important to distinguish
between the features and the fluff when looking at marketing materials.
This chapter highlights some of the advanced switch features you'd want to
investigate, although some are brand-specific.

ActivReach
This proprietary ADTRAN format uses data compression to greatly extend the
useful length of standard copper-wire cable, up to 1,200 feet.  It's a useful feature in
offices where re-wiring would be cost-prohibitive or not possible at all.
Layer 2 / Layer 3 / Layer 3 Lite
Whether a switch is Layer 2, Layer 3, or Layer 3 Lite (sometimes referred to as
Layer 2 Plus), is what largely determines how "smart" it is.
Layer 2 switching uses the MAC address from the host's network interface to
decide where to forward frames. Layer 2 switching is hardware based to build and
maintain filter tables (also known as MAC address tables). One way to think of a
layer 2 switch is as a multiport bridge.
Layer 3 switches include a "layer" of routing protocols, allowing L3 switches to
optimize traffic flow between themselves without the need for external hardware.

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Layer 3 Lite is a cost-saving compromise:  It can optimize, but it lacks full routing
ability and therefore requires static, pre-determined packet routes. Layer 3 Lite is
typically the minimum needed to implement VLANS, a required feature for VoIP and
other common networking applications.
PoE / PoE+
Power-over-Ethernet is best defined as electricity flowing side-by-side with data on
an Ethernet cable, eliminating the need for an additional traditional power cord.  The
only significant difference between the two standards is that PoE runs at 15.4 watts
per port, while PoE+ supplies 30 watts per port.
15.4 watts are generally sufficient for VoIP phones, basic IP security cameras, and
web cams. 30 watts is normally required for advanced IP security cameras with
pan, tilt, and climate control features. Many 802.11ac Gigabit wireless access points
also require PoE+.
Port Density
Switches typically come with ports arranged in clusters of 8, 12, 24, and 48.
However, mixing-and-matching port densities is becoming more common. For
example, a ten-port switch with eight RJ-45 ports and two SFP optical ports.
Including uplink ports in the total number of ports is becoming more common, so
check the manufacturer data sheets carefully. 
Power Redundancy
Some, but not all, brands and models offer a second or redundant physical power
supply internally in the switch that provides uninterrupted power if the primary power
supply fails.  This is a great feature to have and is normally found on mid to high end
switches.
Stacking
Simply put, a switch that's stackable is capable of functioning as a standalone
unit, or integrating with matching models to create a larger, unified switching
"stack."  A common set up typically includes a master and slave switch, sharing
configuration data and in case of a failure, the slave switch seamlessly takes over as
a master.  Other benefits include larger throughput because all the switches in the

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stack are interconnected through a backplane with cables. Typically switches that
have primarily Fast Ethernet ports would have at minimum Gigabit connections for
its stacking backplane; likewise, switches that primarily have Gigabit Ethernet ports
would have (at minimum) 10-Gigabit connections.
Features associated with stackable switches can include:
• Single IP address for multiple units. Multiple switches can share
one IP address for administrative purposes, thus conserving IP
addresses.
• Single management view from multiple interfaces. Stack-level views
and commands can be provided from a single Command Line
Interface (CLI) and/or embedded Web interface. The SNMP view
into the stack can be unified.
• Stacking resiliency. Multiple switches can have ways to bypass
a “down” switch in a stack, thus allowing the remaining units to
function as a stack even with a failed or removed unit.
Layer 3 redundancy. Some stackable architectures allow for continued Layer 3
routing if there is a “down” switch in a stack. If routing is centralized in one unit in the
stack, and that unit fails, then there must be a recovery mechanism to move routing
to a backup unit in the stack.
Mix and match of technology. Some stackable architectures allow for mixing
switches of different technologies or from different product families, yet still achieve
unified management. For example, some stacking allows for the mixing 10/100 and
Gigabit switches in a stack.
Dedicated stacking bandwidth. Some switches come with built-in ports dedicated
for stacking, which can preserve other ports for data network connections and avoid
the possible expense of an additional module to add stacking. Proprietary data
handling or cables can be used to achieve higher bandwidths than standard Gigabit
or 10-Gigabit connections.

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The Beginners Guide to Ethernet Switching Fundamentals Page 23

Integrated Wi-Fi Controllers


A few lines of switches, especially the Cisco Catalyst and the ADTRAN Netvanta
series, include a Wi-Fi controller built into the operating system, further eliminating
additional hardware costs and points of failure. This is a good alternative for
networks that don't wish to virtualize, but still wish to unify their physical and Wi-Fi
networks

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The Beginners Guide to Ethernet Switching Fundamentals Page 24

Major Switch Manufacturers

Finally, in this chapter, we wanted to briefly discuss a few of the major brands of
switches and other networking hardware, along with some reasons a business might
or might not want to partner with them.
This is an important decision. To get the most from a new network, it's almost
always advantageous for a business to standardize on one brand.  This ensures
inter-operability between components with minimal hassle, as well as making the
upgrade path more predictable.
If you know what products a company has in their catalog, and which are coming in
the next year or two, you know what to plan for in future upgrades.

Cisco 
Cisco is, of course, the 800lb gorilla of the networking market.  Since the 1990’s,
Cisco has been established as the go-to brand for high-end business networking.
Cisco serves in that role especially well:  Even today, one might argue that there's no
better brand for the largest companies.
However, that's less true for smaller firms.  Cisco is widely coming to be seen
as less economical, relative to the value provided; several other brands offer
comparable functionality at significantly lower prices.  
NetGear  
NetGear has long been one of the most common brands for home networking, and
they do also offer a line of business-grade hardware suitable for small and medium
businesses.  

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The Beginners Guide to Ethernet Switching Fundamentals Page 25

NetGear is inexpensive, and carries some brand loyalty from people who use it
at home. NetGear could be a valid choice for very small, low-budget businesses
looking for their first network.
Juniper Networks
Juniper was only formed in 1998, but started immediately making waves for
their willingness to buy into cutting-edge technology.  For most of the early 2000s,
Juniper was one of the only firms looking to match Cisco feature-for-feature at the
cutting edge, while maintaining lower prices.  Juniper's custom interface, Junos,
is highly configurable and popular among power system administrators for its
FreeBSD core.
Juniper continues to be a competitive brand and is an excellent choice for
businesses looking for current-gen hardware at affordable rates.
ADTRAN
ADTRAN is another challenger to Cisco and Juniper.  ADTRAN's approach is
extremely direct; offering premium quality hardware at extremely affordable rates,
specifically to target growing small to medium size businesses.  
This is paired with their own R&D division, which frequently develops new
standards.  Their Bluesocket virtualized architecture is currently one of the best
options in controller-less wireless networking on the market.
ADTRAN switches are affordable, simple, reliable, and their customer service is
universally considered to be best-in-class.

Once you buy into a network architecture or OS, it's sometimes not cost effective
to change formats.  A smart network purchase is looking at least five years down
the road.  

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The Beginners Guide to Ethernet Switching Fundamentals Page 26

Hummingbird Networks has decades of experience building networks for


businesses large and small.  If you know the time is right for a globalized network
that's ready for unified communications and virtualization, we can put together a
variety of upgrade plans that suit your needs and your budget.  
From a single small office to a large distributed network across multiple locations,
Hummingbird Networks has the expertise you need for networking success.
Contact us for a Free Network Assessment.

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The Beginners Guide to Ethernet Switching Fundamentals Page 27

www.hummingbirdnetworks.com
866-551-3278
© 2013 Hummingbird Networks. All Rights Reserved.
Specifications are subject to change without notice.
All copyrights and logos are the property of their respective owners