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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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Cisco Partner Update: Spring Break Survival Guide

April 1, 2011 at 10:19 am PST

Andrew and I missed our college days so much that we decided to join the spring break revelers and film Partner Update from sunny Coronado Beach in San Diego, California. In this episode, we’ll be delving into such important spring break topics as:

  • SPF 15 vs. SPF 20? Choose the right SPF for you!
  • Survival Guide: What to do if your friends bury you under sand while you’re napping.
  • Salt water – more nutritious than you realize.

Watch our special “Spring Break Survival Guide” edition of Partner Update.

Curious about how to prepare for your upcoming spring break?
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Talking Switching with John McCool: From Enterprise to Data Center

We heard from SVP Keith Goodwin at Partner Summit that while we are helping partners move to the cloud, we are also still focusing on our core technologies, namely routing and switching. And it’s no secret that the switching market is evolving.

Have you been wondering what the real story is behind switching market share? What industry trends are shaping the next wave of networking innovation? And what is Cisco’s switching strategy?

All of these were top-of-mind questions addressed in a recent investor relations webcast—led by John McCool, SVP and GM, Data Center, Switching and Services—to discuss Cisco’s Ethernet switching business and the competitive landscape.

McCool gave investors a brief presentation, which was followed by a Q&A session. You can listen to the entire broadcast here: Tech Talk: Ethernet Switching, From the Enterprise to the Data Center.

Looking for specific information within the broadcast? Here are some time stamps that indicate where John addresses port transitions, market share trends, and more.

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Tolly Report: Cisco 300 Series Managed Switches

“Cisco has raised the bar for this product category.”

“The new Cisco 300 Series Switches offered the most extensive capabilities, best performance, lowest latency, lowest overall energy consumption, and best user experience of any product in the evaluation. Cisco has incorporated the most extensive IPv6 support Tolly has seen in this class of product, which is an increasingly important feature for businesses of all sizes now that the IPv4 address space is fully allocated.  The combination of an intuitive Web interface, delivering both simple and advanced configuration and management, and best-in-class pricing make these products ideal for the markets being served.”
-- Kevin Tolly, founder, The Tolly Group

Cisco Systems commissioned Tolly to evaluate several models of the new Cisco Small Business 300 Series Managed Switches along with comparable models from D-Link, HP Networking, and NETGEAR. In all, eleven switches were tested. Bottom line, the Cisco 300 Series 10/100 and GbE Managed Switches delivered:

  • Wire-speed, non-blocking, Layer 2 throughput at all frame sizes tested (64-1518 bytes)
  • Consistently low latency at all frame sizes
  • Best price/performance among switches tested
  • Most extensive feature set: IPv6, traffic shaping and rate limiting, scope of GUI-based configuration
  • Lowest power consumption in 2 of the 3 classes tested, and best-in-class power efficiency overall
  • Most extensive set of IPv6 protocol and application support
  • Best usability with a simplified user interface delivering both basic and advanced capabilities in an intuitive fashion

Check out the full report and give us your thoughts!

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