In most office buildings today, network wires are laid down in the walls and ceiling during construction and that predefines the number of network ports available in each room once and for all as it is impractical and very expensive to run additional wires from the wiring closet once construction is completed if additional network ports are needed.
So, what do you do when you need to convert an existing room into a conference room or a classroom where you are going to need more ports than what’s currently wired in the walls? Essentially, the network admin faces two options, deploy an enterprise switch inside the room or let users bring their own switches to solve the problem on their own as they often do.
Deploying consumer class unmanaged switches in an enterprise network is a bad idea, the problems are numerous: no security, no quality of service, no traffic management, no monitoring, no visibility to the network administrator and the biggest of all, no spanning tree. What if a user inadvertently creates a loop through improper wiring and brings part of the network down?
The only viable option to preserve the network integrity is the deployment of enterprise class switches outside the wiring closet. A new class of products is emerging to specifically address this need. Enterprise compact switches are designed to be deployed anywhere and blend into the work environment, they are fanless, completely silent, use very little power and they are small enough to be mounted anywhere or integrated into the furniture. The more advanced enterprise compact switches can even be powered through PoE eliminating the need for and AC outlet nearby for even greater placement flexibility.
The good news for network administrators: These compact switches offer the exact same enterprise features as their bigger brothers deployed in wiring closets. Same manageability, same security, same layer 2 and even layer 3 features, same software image. They are essentially an extension of the enterprise network at the edge, not a poorly integrated add-on.
This week, Brocade is launching a new advanced compact switch to complete the ICX line of campus products, be sure to check out the press release for more details.