Cisco Business Basics: How to Select an Unmanaged Switch for Your Small Business

"Cisco Business Basics – How to Select an Unmanaged Switch for Your Small Business" Video Transcript

When you operate a small business or work out of home office, a switch can be like the electricity powering your network – essential.

An unmanaged switch is a valuable, cost-effective solution for making your office network successful. Learn more about these options below and finding the right unmanaged switch for your needs.

Unmanaged Switch Essentials

Walking through the basics, if you run a small office outside the home, an unmanaged switch is how you might make the devices on your network –desktop computers, printers, wireless access points, IP phones, etc. – effectively talk to one another. Unmanaged switches can be a great starting point for networking in a small office, because it provides just the right amount of device connectivity through a variety of port options, while allowing you room for expansion.

What other criteria best describe an ideal candidate for an unmanaged switch? Well, for starters, they’re ideal for small businesses and home offices on a budget, as they’re traditionally less expensive than other types of switches. And they’re perfect for situations where an IT person or department are not in the picture – they’re truly plug-and-play devices when you have an existing, functional network set up.

Is an Unmanaged Switch Right for Your Business?

If you’re working with a small team that needs computers, printers, security cameras – or any other ethernet-connected devices to talk to one another – an unmanaged switch is potentially an ideal answer for you. Particularly considering their reliable connection to the network when compared against a wireless access point. Though wireless devices can provide a convenient, on-the-go connection, they can encounter interference. Conversely, ethernet-wired devices tend to be less susceptible to signal degradation due to interference from competing wireless devices in your office.

The Cisco Business 110 Series of unmanaged switches are a great place to start. They’re affordable, they can operate at high speeds for bandwidth-intensive usage, and they come with a variety of port configurations – depending on how many you anticipate needing for your own networking situation. And they’re either rack or desktop mountable.

Features of Cisco Unmanaged Switches

In addition, the 8PP-D, 16PP, and 24PP models are outfitted with Power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities in some of their ports, which means you can connect and power compatible devices, such as IP phones, wireless access points, and security cameras, with just an ethernet cable. Keep in mind that not all the ports are PoE-capable – for instance, in the 8-port switch as many as half the ports can support PoE, depending on the model.

So what makes one of these 110 Series switches different than the other? When it comes to deciding on the best option, you’ll want to identify your ideal port count, whether PoE is valuable to your situation, and which power supply type makes the most sense for the way your network is set up.

Different Models of Unmanaged Switches

With a range of five- to 24-port models, usage is scalable depending on the size of your operation. If you’re a team of 10, with multiple devices allocated per person, in addition to shared network devices, you might err on the side of the larger port number. Smaller models, such as 5P and 8P are designed to sit comfortably on your desktop, while larger-port models are designed for convenient rack mounting. If you’re a single-person operation, a basic, five-port model might be enough to meet your needs.

What makes the smallest model, the 5T-D, different from the largest, the 24PP, goes beyond simply the number of ports on the switch – increased ports also impact the switch’s capacity and speed, not to mention the fact that a 5T-D can be placed simply on your desktop, while a 24PP will require a closet or cabinet to mount.

Which Type of Business Needs What Unmanaged Switch?

So the actual question at hand – which model of unmanaged switch is right for you? For instance, running a small retail operation out of an office space – selling a moderate amount of inventory and working with a team of 5 – requires a moderate network setup. Each person has a desktop computer, and they share a printer, as well as IP phones and access points set up for the team and for guest Wi-Fi, when when there are meetings or events. Considering this type of small office, the team uses the 16PP model. It has enough ports to meet the device needs, Power over Ethernet capabilities on eight of its 16 ports for access points and phones, and there are extra ports that can be used down the road should the business grow and requires them.

But how about you? What do you need to stay connected? This video should have given you just the tools you need to get to the bottom of that question - just be sure to start with the Cisco 110 series of unmanaged switches, and you’re halfway there!

Thanks for watching this edition of Cisco Business Basics. Happy networking, friends.

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