There are lots of vendors that sell 4-5 port devices for between $15-$50 dollars and call them switches. These cheap devices offer minimal functionality beyond that of a hub, and rarely deliver
even close to the Gigabit speeds promised. Such solutions may work okay for a server with 2-5 users, but quickly scale down in speed and responsiveness as more users are added and more devices are
The key to designing an effective network is the planning that goes into it, and the strategic placement of network resources in relation to your users.
At a bare minimum, you need to consider:
- What services is the network providing?
- Where are the users that need the services plugged in?
- Estimate how much traffic your users need, then double it.
- Do you want redundancy for your network and your servers in case a device fails?
- Does it make sense for security and performance purposes to split users up into logical sub-networks?
- Is there an anti-virus strategy in place and is it current? Often, one infected machine can spread to every machine within a network, and bring the entire network down. Lack of an effective
anti-virus strategy also risks that your data can be stolen, and that your network will be used to conduct illegal activities.