Tactical Advice

The Ultimate Guide to Routing and Switching

Strategic router and switch acquisition and management practices help ensure long-term network performance.
The Ultimate Guide to Routing and Switching
Credit: iStock/ThinkStockPhotos

Network design is undergoing a quiet revolution as old assumptions give way to new realities.

Virtualization is changing data center performance requirements by concentrating immense power in a small space. Mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives are transforming Wi-Fi from a guest service into a mission-critical one. Cloud computing, along with increased reliance on Internet-based resources, is making network reliability and application control top priorities in all types and sizes of organizations.

At the center of all this are the commonplace network building blocks: routers and switches. Network administrators tasked with building modern networks have no choice but to question old design rules and to rethink how they assemble these critical pieces.

Understanding current trends in enterprise network design, including best practices for building user, data center and wide area networks (WANs); the top protocols currently used for routing and switching; and how to pick the best routers and switches for reliability, flexibility, scalability and manageability will help IT professionals make the most of what they have and, when needed, build for the future.

Below are several stories that will guide IT pros through the basics of modern routing and switching technology.

  1. By identifying the integral components of an enterprise network, IT workers can optimize for performance.

  2. There's been plenty of interest in SDN, but should it be a component of your organization's core infrastructure?

  3. Get familiar with some of the newest networking terms IT admins must know.

  4. As more vendors add security and network optimization features to their routing products, IT workers have a choice to make.

  5. Understanding the functions and capabilities at each networking layer will allow IT admins to optimize for maximum performance.

  6. There are plenty of great networking devices on the market, but it's important to align the right equipment with the right use case.

  7. The demand for wireless connectivity is poised for a sharp uptick in the next few years.

  8. Take a closer look at bandwidth, routing and switching operations in your data center.

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About the Author

Joel Snyder

Joel Snyder

Joel Snyder, Ph.D., is a senior IT consultant with 30 years of practice. An internationally recognized expert in the areas of security, messaging and networks, Dr. Snyder is a popular speaker and author and is known for his unbiased and comprehensive tests of security and networking products. His clients include major organizations on six continents.

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