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More Bandwidth Isn’t Always the Solution

When your network slows down, taking advantage of network intelligence can be a more effective and affordable solution.

Nowadays, more small businesses have a converged network running three types of traffic simultaneously—voice, video, and data. Delay-sensitive and real-time applications such as voice and voice applications have different characteristics and requirements from those of traditional data applications. Because they are real-time-based, voice and video applications will only tolerate a small amount of delay affecting delivery. Voice and video traffic will also only accept a small amount of network error and jitter, both of which degrade the quality of the transmission delivered to the end user. To effectively transport voice and video traffic over a network, mechanisms are required that ensure reliable delivery of packets with low latency. In addition, more and more companies are running automated backups during regular work hours, so converged network can easily get bogged down, resulting in slow and spotty performance. A simple and easy solution may be to add more bandwidth, but that isn’t always the best fix. Instead, network intelligence features in your switch can improve network performance more effectively and affordably.

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CRN Review: Latest Cisco 300 Series Switch Aimed At Non-Techies

Eddie Correia just posted a great review of Cisco’s latest 300 Series switch here . It’s filled with all kinds of juicy nuggets like, “Gone are the days when programming a Layer 3 Ethernet switch required special training or certifications.”

We know that most small businesses just don’t have the time or inclination to undergo detailed training simply to use technology to achieve their goals. In fact, Correia says, “Cisco’s 300 Series managed switches are designed to be maintained by the end-user, people that are usually more interested in processing orders from their small business’s Web site than in mucking around with IT technologies and protocols.”

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the review. It goes into a good, but helpful amount of detail, and of course my favorite part is the last sentence, where Correia says, “As tested…and for the small office or department, the CRN Test Center recommends Cisco every time.”

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Embarking on an Exciting Evolution: What Partners Need to Know

I’ve heard time and again from you (our partners) that we need to simplify, and make it easier to do business with us. Yesterday, we took a leap forward in streamlining Cisco.

Here are the three things I’d like to emphasize about the changes we announced on May 5.

1)    Simplicity.

I promised you at Partner Summit in New Orleans that we would simplify. Yesterday we followed through on that pledge by streamlining our sales, services, and engineering organizations at Cisco.

2)    Profitability.

My top priority is your profitability. We will continue to innovate and invest in industry leading programs like VIP and OIP. And, together we will drive growth and profitability in five key areas:

•    core  (routing, switching, and services)
•    collaboration
•    data center, virtualization, and cloud
•    video
•    architectures

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Talkin’ Tech: Switches

A new series that defines the terms behind the technologies that run your business.

When it comes to technology, there’s so much to know that it’s often overwhelming. As a small business owner, your brain is already overflowing with the myriad details and tasks involved in running your company. With our new Talkin’ Tech series, we define the basic terms behind a product category so that you can more easily understand and make decisions about the technologies that run your business.

In this first Talkin’ Tech, we tackle switches. The cornerstone of any reliable network, switches are the glue that connect your business to your employees, giving them access to the resources they need to do their jobs, including laptops, servers, printers, and storage devices. Switches are used to create a local area network (LAN). Although there are many different types of switches, the list below provides a glossary of the essential terms common to this category.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Talkin’ Tech series next month, when we’ll take a look at the terms behind unified communications. If there’s a product category you’re interested in having defined, we’d love to hear from you.

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Get More Control Over Your Network with a Smart Switch

This entry-level managed switch provides basic features like QoS and security, but at a more cost-effective price.

We’ve written before about the difference between managed and unmanaged switches and choosing the one that’s right for your small business. However, there’s a third option you should consider if you’ve outgrown your unmanaged switch but don’t need the more advanced functionality of a managed switch: It’s a smart switch.

Think of a smart switch as an entry-level managed switch. Smart switches provide basic managed switch features—like Quality of Service (QoS), security, and web management—butwithout the advanced features of  their fully-managed counterparts. With less granular capabilities, smart switches are also less expensive than managed devices.

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