The switch that makes SMB networks complete

The switch that makes SMB networks complete

The latest addition to Zyxel’s switch family is designed to provide smaller businesses with the structure, performance, and capacity they need on the network to cope with the additional traffic generated by more connected devices and content-rich traffic, as Luke Harley, Switching Market Development Manager EMEA at Zyxel, explains.

Rather than being constructed to a pre-defined structure, IT networks tend to be added-to and extended over a period of years. When it’s just getting started, a small business will install a single switch to cater for the handful of users and connected peripherals it has at that time. It will then add another when the number of users and devices increases, and further switches as the business grows and expands. This is OK, but after a while you need to take a more structured approach.

When you have four, five, six or more switches, instead of ‘daisy-chaining’ them together, it makes sense to have an ‘aggregation’ switch that sits in the middle and connects out to all the other switches. This hub-of-the wheel type of set-up will provide you with faster, more efficient throughput, as each switch can be ‘uplinked’ to the aggregation switch at the centre of the network.

A real network

At this point your infrastructure becomes what technicians might regard as a ‘real’ network. One with a defined, centralised structure. In this sense, the deployment of an aggregation switch competes the network, giving it a core framework around which it can extend out further.

But let’s not delve too deeply into the intricacies of network infrastructure. What I really want to focus on here are the needs of smaller businesses. To do that we have to look back at the way network structures evolve. In the past, companies that only needed a small number of switches would probably not have deployed an aggregation switch at the centre of their network. There would have been no need as the levels of traffic they generated were relatively light and the simple, linear structure could cope.

As a result, aggregation switches would only be used in bigger networks. Consequently, these switches have tended to be big in terms of the number ports and throughput they can support. They are crammed with technology and designed to provide room for the network to grow, for more switches – or even a second level of aggregation switches – to be added. This also makes them a bit too expensive for smaller businesses.

Defined structure

But many smaller networks do now need a defined structure. More devices are being connected using WiFi – laptops, tablets, smartphones and even IoT devices, and SMBs are generating more traffic by using video conferencing, online and cloud-based services, and through home or remote working and the added security that necessitates.

All this is increasing the amount of bandwidth SMBs need on the network and deploying an aggregator switch is an excellent way of relieving the strain. But they don’t really need a switch that is capable of supporting a big enterprise-scale infrastructure.

This is why we have now launched the XS1930-12F – an aggregator switch designed for smaller networks that has 10 SFP+ fibre ports and two that support multi-gigabit copper connectivity. This means that up to a dozen switches can be hooked-up to the switch at speeds of up to 10Gpbs, providing ample capacity for even the most demanding of modern workloads.

While smaller networks might have functioned perfectly well in the past when they were daisy-chained together, the more demanding connectivity needs of network users today means that it makes sense to use of an aggregator switch. With the addition of a Zyxel XS1930-12F switch, SMBs can have the complete network.