Are you familiar with switches? They are a crucial component of a local area network (LAN) and play a vital role in connecting multiple devices such as mobile phones, computers, monitors, and printers to form a network. Acting as an information exchange center, switches facilitate the passing of necessary information between terminals.

Cisco Switches

Cisco is a well-known supplier of switches, with a strong reputation and extensive experience in the field. The variety of services and types of switches offered by Cisco emphasizes its unique position in the market. If you are interested in learning more about Cisco switches or need to install them in your network, this guide has all the information you need.

About Cisco Switches 

Cisco, a prominent provider of networking solutions, offers a variety of products including routers, switches, wireless devices, and servers.

Two primary types of Cisco network switches are:

  • Fixed configuration switches
  • Modular switches

Fixed configuration switches do not permit the addition of extra modules or switching. Apart from limited software upgrades, these Cisco switches are not expandable.

On the other hand, modular switches allow you to swap and add additional modules. You can select the number and type of interface boards, power supply modules, and corresponding software according to your network requirements. In short, the types of switches used in a network depend on the network's specific needs.

The three unique Cisco switching techniques 

Process switching

The method used by the router processor to route and modify packets involves programming. This is the least flexible of the three techniques and is also the slowest.

Quick switching 

In this case, the primary packet in a bundled stream is routed and modified by a routing processor, while the subsequent packets are handled by hardware.

Cisco express forwarding 

Cisco switches are designed to prioritize the use of Cisco Express Forwarding whenever possible. If this is not feasible, fast switching or process switching may be used. However, most Cisco switches have routing processors that are not designed for process switching and will perform poorly when this method is used. Typically, Cisco Express Forwarding or Fast Switching is the preferred methods to use.

Reasons to use Cisco switches 

Scale with cloud-based technology- Deploying Cisco switches that offer high performance, density, low latency, and high efficiency can enable organizations to achieve exceptional scalability and performance. Additionally, these switches may come with embedded security features, real-time performance analytics, multi-speed ports of high quality, and cost savings.

Automate and simple operations- Cisco model switches enable easy integration with third-party development tools that utilize open APIs, allowing for faster implementation of changes. Additionally, Cisco ACI simplifies the automation of operations.

Deliver a positive user experience- As users mobile-stricken and rely heavily on visual information, the Cisco switches provide them with a high-quality network experience, no matter where they are and what they are accessing.

Superior access and service levels- Today, every business needs fast and reliable access to any resource everywhere and every time. Cisco switching is capable of fulfilling this need by offering maximum uptime, quick development, improved access and automated operations.

Implement security and compliance- In the world of technology, threats are abundant. However, Cisco Switching offers a high level of security and information protection, as well as authorization of user activities and migration of threats.

Cisco Network Assistant – One of the best Cisco Switch Monitoring Tools 

The Cisco Network Assistant is a network monitoring tool that has been optimized to work across a range of Cisco switches, routers, controllers, and access points. However, it has a significant drawback in that it can only manage up to 80 devices, making it less ideal for larger enterprise networks.

Though there is a limitation, the Cisco Network Assistant provides a device access service. This helps the users to access the management menu of the switch directly through the monitor dashboard. Other than this, the assistant allows the users to view important warranty and contract information of the device.

Factors to consider buying Cisco switches 

Number of ports

Switches come in various configurations, ranging from 5 to 52 ports. It is essential to choose the appropriate number of ports for your network, taking into account the number of users it supports. To ensure that you have enough switch ports for unforeseen needs, you should increase your current port count by 15%. This way, you can have the minimum required switch ports for your network today and in the foreseeable future.

Port speed and types

When determining your network requirements, it's important to consider the speed of primary and uplink ports, as well as the power needed for PoE and PoE+ ports on the edge. This will help determine the number of ports needed and their required speeds. The type and number of edge, primary, and uplink ports are crucial factors to consider when making purchasing decisions.

Form factor

Your switch selection can be influenced by several factors. These factors include your workplace layout, your preference for quiet operation or physical security, and the number of switch ports required.

If you have a smaller office or conference room, then desktop switches may be the best option. These switches are smaller, silent, and can be placed on top of a desk or table.

On the other hand, rack-mount switches are designed to be installed in a physically secure room, such as a wiring closet. These switches are ideal for larger offices and data centers where other network devices like servers and telephony equipment are also housed.

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