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A Newbie’s Guide To Setting Up An Ultra-Fast Network

Many of us don’t really think about network speeds or how the devices attached to a network can affect performance and speed for everyone else. We just typically buy standard equipment such as 10/100 routers, unmanaged switches, and connect with tech without a second thought.

Although this approach to setting up computer networks is fine for many home users and small business owners, for those of you that demand the fastest network speeds and server-based applications for offices and other commercial settings of all shapes and sizes, that approach is simply not good enough!

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If you need a superfast network environment for your business, and you don’t know whether you need micro servers or Oracle storage solutions, here are some key pointers to help you head in the right direction!

Use gigabit Ethernet

Most of the time, standard ‘fast’ Ethernet will suffice in an office environment but if you need to transfer large volumes of files on a daily basis between users and between users and servers, gigabit Ethernet is definitely the way forward.

Even though gigabit Ethernet devices are pricier than fast Ethernet ones, the faster equipment will more than make up for the extra cost, especially as it will make your employees more efficient and productive in their work.

Use fibre optic connections between buildings

If your offices are split between different buildings, I would highly recommend that you use fibre-optic connections between the networks in each building.

Although gigabit Ethernet can transmit data at a theoretical maximum of 1Gb per second and have a maximum reach between points of 100 metres, with fibre optic cables you can transmit data up to a maximum of 10Gb per second and can reach distances of 600 metres with multi-mode cables, or 50+ miles with single-mode cables.

Use managed switches to segment your network

Switches at the cheaper end of the market are typically unmanaged ones; this means you simply plug in your Ethernet cables into them, turn them on and walk away. Managed switches are used in settings where complete control of network traffic is required, and are a mandatory type of device for the purposes of network segmentation.

With managed switches, you can set up VLANs (“virtual” local-area networks) where traffic can be filtered and diverted depending on the type of traffic being received. For example, you may want to give higher priority to certain protocols, or perhaps you run an office where you extensively use VoIP (Voice Over IP) telephones and so you want to dedicate more bandwidth to VoIP data rather than other types of data, for the purposes of ensuring high call quality at all times.

Install servers according to your requirements

If you have a small office of just 5 people or less, then you may wish to have nothing more than a gigabit Ethernet-enabled NAS (Network-Accessible Storage) device for accessing files occasionally.

But if your users need an enterprise-level client-server solution for applications such as SAP or other database-driven systems, then it is important that you invest in suitable storage solutions that can deliver the information they need in a timely fashion.

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