Buying Guide: Choosing An SMB Ethernet Swtich

ITBusinessEdge: Buying Guide: Choosing An SMB Ethernet Swtich

Paul Mah provides a guide to SMBs on how to select an Ethernet switch, including which security features to look for, the pros and cons of power over Ethernet (PoE) and other technical considerations.

“I wrote earlier this year on the topic of why Ethernet is still relevant in business. While WLAN definitely has its appeal where convenience and ease of deployment are concerned, there are many scenarios in which a wired network would make more sense. Before rushing out to grab the cheapest Layer 2 network switch, IT managers should be made aware of the more advanced capabilities found in business-centric networking gear.

I highlight some of the more pertinent ones below.

Security Features

There is no doubt that a network switch is leaps and bounds more secure than the hubs of yesteryear. What is less well-known, however, is how entry-level switches are vulnerable to attacks such as ARP poisoning and MAC flooding. Though such shenanigans can be easily detected with modern IPS or IDS appliances, these are not hardware that all SMBs can afford, and certainly not practical for smaller branch offices. Fortunately, mid-end switches often incorporate a level of security ranging from the ability to lock down MAC addresses at the port level (useful for servers), protection from excessive ARP broadcasts or even support for authentication with a RADIUS server.”

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.

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