NetworkTigers discusses the benefits of enterprise-grade networking equipment.
The Internet of Everything has grown exponentially over the last ten years. More than 50 billion “things” are connected to the Internet right now, according to Cisco. Those things comprise a wider variety of network devices than many dreamed possible. Smartphones and computers are only the tip of the iceberg. Homes, parking meters, thermostats, refrigerators, cardiac monitors, cars, supermarket shelves, and even cows have been connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).
With so many devices online, and even more doubtless yet to come, having reliable connectivity is no longer optional for most small to medium businesses. The average consumer carries out at least two transactions online per day. Meanwhile, 28% of all business has shifted online. Enterprise-grade networking equipment can make all the difference for a business seeking to expand while investing in reliable, scalable gear. Does your home or business need enterprise-grade networking equipment? Read on for the pros and cons.
Differences between home networks and enterprise-grade gear
In most residential networks, your router and devices create a workgroup with the following characteristics and limitations:
- No separate network management: All devices connected to the network are equally a part of the same connection. This means no separate device is needed or available to be granted manager privileges.
- Different user accounts: Each account is private, and login is not shared within the larger network.
- Smaller capability: Only a few devices will receive internet access through the home network.
- Encryption options available: Most home networks can support WPA wireless encryption standards and some firewall setups. Most also offer Ethernet ports for wired connectivity.
On the other hand, enterprise-grade network equipment offers expanded capacity for both businesses and some homeowners serious about security and connectivity. Enterprise-grade gear involves:
- At least one server: At least one user account will be located on the domain server, not a personal computer or laptop
- Network administrators can configure permissions for connected devices
- Support for multiple access points
- Group policy enforcement and domain-wide logging of user activity: This can effectively trace hacks and leaks back to the source. Connected devices, ports and traffic can be monitored and Quality of Service (QoS) settings can be adjusted.
- Expanded data storage and privacy protection
- Hardware-based VPN: This feature can also be accessed for those working remotely.
- Higher speeds and increased device connection capacity
- External network switches may be used to link devices
- Longer lasting design and individual parts
Benefits of choosing enterprise-grade networking equipment
Home networks usually involve a lower up-front cost but may require replacing and repair sooner than enterprise-grade gear. Choosing how to invest in network equipment involves a careful cost-benefit analysis of initial costs and your expected future needs. Do you anticipate needing more access ports in the near future? Stronger security? When deciding between different kinds of network equipment, you may want to consider the following factors:
Enterprise-grade gear is built to last for ten to thirty years easily. It is also designed to be easily scalable. If your small business plans to expand or hire work-from-home employees soon, investing in enterprise-grade gear can ensure your venture is better prepared for success. Additionally, homeowners looking for network installation above 2,000 square feet or those requiring expanded WiFi access to property lines, poolside, or beachside areas are more commonly considering enterprise-grade gear because it spans more devices and a larger geographic area.
Enterprise-grade networks are by nature more secure than the average home gear. Unlike typical Internet connectivity, enterprise-grade networks limit access to specific users and devices. Data that passes through an enterprise-grade network is typically encrypted using a VPN or Transport Layer Security (TLS). Enterprise-grade routers also offer expanded routing protocols, SNMP (simple network management protocol), and greater visibility for data traffic.
Enterprise-grade networking equipment is built to increase both speed and connectivity. Enterprise routers have more advanced hardware components that are built to handle much higher amounts of traffic. Cache, CPU, memory, and forwarding capacity will all be improved on enterprise-grade gear.
The typical residential router can connect 10 to 15 users. On the other hand, an enterprise router can allow access for up to 150 users with improved speeds and data flow.
Go beyond bare minimum when considering your home or business’s networking needs. The Internet of Things is only expanding, and connectivity requirements that we wouldn’t have dreamed of are now the norm. Investing in enterprise-grade gear can ensure your WiFi access is stronger, smoother, and better protected against threats. It may be the most worthwhile investment in your digital health.