With the increasing complexity of enterprise networks, companies need secure, speedy, scalable, and flexible methods of transferring data within their networks. Modern enterprise network switches enable enterprises to accomplish this crucial task.
Enterprise network switching refers to the transfer of blocks of data or data packets through a network switch within an enterprise network. It is common to find enterprises relying on switches more than routers in their network design, as switches prove to be cheaper per port in comparison to routers.
- How to Select an Enterprise Network Switch Solution
- Juniper Networks
- HPE Aruba
- Arista Networks
- Extreme Networks
- Future of Network Switches
Range of switch types and models
Before choosing a network switch provider, first identify the ideal switch ports and speeds to satisfy your use case. Then, identify a vendor that not only offers switches with the desired specifications, but also a wide range of switch models and types to mitigate issues with switch interoperability and compatibility in the event more hardware is purchased in the future.
Support and cost
It is vital to identify the support offerings of a switching provider to avoid getting overwhelmed by unexpected network building, implementation, and maintenance complexities and problems. How do they handle phone support and technical troubleshooting? And of course, compared to other solutions, which package provides the most value for your budget?
Before even considering vendors and solutions, it is key to understand the environment in which the switches will be installed. Considerations such as operating temperature, relative humidity, and the size of the switches should be scrutinized. This prevents scenarios where an intended solution is hampered by inadequate rack space, harsh temperatures, and harmful humidity.
Top Network Switch Companies
Juniper Networks is a company with the goal to provide network experiences that transform how people work, connect, and live. The company offers solutions that power connections across industries and provide value for network teams and those it serves. Juniper network switches improve network economics through cloud-grade, high-density Ethernet switching all through client campuses, branches, and data centers while optimizing application and user experiences. Juniper switches offer networks characterized by agility, reliability, and scalability, plus AI-powered insights and automation.
EX Series Switches. Through the EX Series Ethernet Switches, Juniper offers high-performance access and core/aggregation layer switches that are cloud-ready and designed for enterprise campus, branch, and data center networks. With this series, enterprises can uphold innovation, performance, and quality and reduce the risk, cost, and overall complexity of wired access networks.
QFX Series Switches. Juniper Networks offers the QFX Series Switches, provide industry-leading scalability, throughput, programmability of Junos Operating System, an extensive routing stack, and vast IP fabric and Ethernet VPN-Virtual Extensible LAN (EVPN-VXLAN) capabilities. This series covers solutions for wired campus distribution and core, leaf switches and data center spine as well as data center interconnect (DCI) networks.
Owned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Aruba offers a switching portfolio designed for mobile, cloud and IoT. The company provides access switches for enterprises as well as campus core and data center switches through its CX portfolio. These switches help enterprises create modern networks that satisfy the ever-increasing needs of applications, users, and devices. They also reduce the complexity of IT, lower the time spent on troubleshooting, and future-proof organizations.
Access and aggregation switches. Aruba’s access and aggregation switches enable clients to securely connect their users, Wi-Fi 6 access points, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. The switches offer a range of port counts, performance options, and modular flexibility to support clients’ deployments. These switches also offer automated and unified policy enforcement for users and IoT devices across Wi-Fi and wired networks in addition to industry-leading performance, multi-gigabit Ethernet, and high-density 60W PoE (Power over Ethernet).
Campus core and data center switches. The campus and core data center switches cater to the networking needs of clients’ evolving campus cores and data centers. They offer accelerated infrastructure provisioning, greater real-time visibility and control, and distributed intelligent services based on combining first-rate L2/3 switching with hardware-accelerated services processors.
Cisco provides switching solutions that are suitable for a range of situations, from small enterprise networks to large enterprise networks consisting of multiple data centers and optimized for diverse industries. Cisco’s switching solutions help its users’ networks intentionally evolve to satisfy evolving network demands, such as delivering secure and sustainable hybrid work. Aside from small to large enterprises, these switching solutions serve industrial networks and service providers.
Access. Campus LAN Catalyst Switches (access) combine wired and wireless to enable digital transformation by easing operations and constantly offering optimization to support business goals. These switches include Cisco Catalyst 9200, 9300, and 9400 Series as well as the Meraki MS access switches.
Core and distribution. Campus LAN Catalyst Switches (core and distribution) connect customers’ multi-domain networks to streamline operations, reduce costs, simplify scalability, and improve security. Examples include Cisco Catalyst 9400, 9500, 9600 and the Cisco Meraki MS400 Series.
Data center and cloud. Built for scale, Cisco data center switches provide industry-leading performance, programmable and automation tools, and infrastructure scalability that supports efficient data center growth. These switches include Cisco Nexus 3000, 3550, 7000 and 9000 Series, 400G networking, and storage-area networking.
An industry leader in client-to-cloud networking for campus, routing, and large data center environments, Arista Networks provides platforms that offer agility, availability, analytics, security, and automation via an advanced network operating stack. Universal Cloud Network architectures by Arista are based on 10G, 25G, 40G, 50G, 100G, and 400G platforms, enabled by Arista EOS (Extensible Operating System), which is an extensible operating system. The company’s cloud networking products include the Arista 7000 Family portfolio.
Arista EOS/cEOS/vEOS. Arista leverages the Arista EOS as the core of its cloud networking solutions for next-gen cloud and data center networks. It is fully programmable and enables a set of software applications that deliver high availability, automation analytics and network visibility among others.
CloudVision. Built on the principles of cloud networking for analytics, automation, and telemetry, CloudVision stands as a modern multi-domain network management plane. It assists enterprises to reduce the complexities of network operations by breaking down traditional networking silos.
Cognitive WiFi. Arista’s CloudVision CUE offers network administrators the tools needed to ensure Wi-Fi networks run smoothly, anticipate issues, test networks, and provide application insights. It also uses inference models to identify the source of negative user application experience and pass this information to network administrators with suggested approaches to remediation.
NETGEAR provides enterprises with networking, security, and storage solutions without the complexity and cost of big IT. The company offers an advanced range of networking products that are affordable, reliable, and easy to install and maintain. NETGEAR’s Ethernet switch options also consider network demands such as the PoE capabilities, port speed, port counts, and the type of management style used by customers. These switches include unmanaged, plus, smart, smart cloud, PoE, multi-gig, managed, and AVLine ProAV switches. NETGEAR also offers a remote network management system in NETGEAR Insight.
Unmanaged switches. NETGEAR’s Unmanaged Gigabit Switches provide Plug-and-play Switches for instantaneous connectivity without any management. These switches are available ranging from 5-port, 8-port, 16-port, 24-port, and 48-port.
Smart Cloud switches. Smart Cloud Managed Switches are smart switches that provide optional cloud/remote management through NETGEAR Insight. These switches provide users with control and command of their networks from anywhere.
AV Line ProAV switches. The M4250 Series Switches are developed and designed for the growing audio/video over IP (AVoIP) market. NETGEAR’s AV Line switches are engineered for seamless integration with traditional rack-mounted AV equipment.
Also see: Best IoT Platforms for Device Management
Extreme Networks continues to push the boundaries of networking technology to attain less complex, faster, and more agile networks and to help customers enjoy connectivity beyond the network. Extreme Networks refers to this as Customer-Driven Networking. Through ExtremeSwitching, it seeks to make all connections effortless through highly secure, cloud-driven and automated networks. Extreme offers numerous switching products based on the location in the network, switch type, performance tier, and access ports in addition to a cloud management product.
5420 Series. Extreme‘s 5420 Series switches are high-performance fixed-form switches for edge and enterprise wiring closet deployments. The 5420 as a universal hardware platform eases users’ deployment experiences through exceptional cloud management and easier licensing, helping users avoid technology lock-in. This series also supports various Ethernet Fabric services such as Fabric Connect and IP Fabric.
Dynamic role-based policies. Switches by Extreme support a standard highly scalable policy mechanism across wireless and wireless devices. These policies move with the applications, devices, and users through the network.
Rich AI/ML-driven insights. Extreme Analytics paired with rich application telemetry provides exhaustive application and network analytics. Through integration with ExtremeCloudIQ, users can fine-tune their networks before issues occur.
NVIDIA provides Ethernet switching solutions for the accelerated data center. The company is a market leader in end-to-end networking for all hardware and software layers. The NVIDIA Ethernet switching solution allows customers to buy hardware from an assortment of vendors to provide flexibility and control to customers. This yields extensive visibility, advanced virtualization, and high levels of performance and predictability.
NVIDIA Spectrum. The NVIDIA Spectrum Ethernet Switch product family contains a vast portfolio of aggregation and top-of-rack switches that can be deployed as part of users’ Layer 2 and Layer 3 cloud designs. They can also be deployed in overlay-based virtual networks as well as part of essential, high-performance Ethernet storage fabrics.
NVIDIA Linux Switch. With Linux Switch, users can use their desired Linux distribution as the switch operating system on any Open Ethernet NVIDIA Spectrum switch platform.
NVIDIA NetQ. As a modern operations tool, NetQ delivers holistic real-time visibility, life cycle management, and troubleshooting to users and their modern data centers.
D-Link stands as a global leader in the design and development of networking and connectivity products for consumers, small businesses, medium to large enterprises, and service providers. The company’s unified network solutions provide integrated capabilities in wireless, broadband, switching, IP surveillance, and cloud-based network management.
Smart managed switches. The DGS-1100 V2 Series by D-Link combines core management capabilities with the simplicity of unmanaged switches. For clients who seek limited control over their connectivity, these switches provide the right balance.
Fully managed switches. D-Link’s DGS-3630 Series is designed for core, distribution, and access layer switching. They come with standout security, power, and manageability features that make them ideal for various applications at every scale. These switches also feature high port densities and switch stacking.
Data center switches. The DXS-5000 Series provides telecoms-grade connectivity through future-ready data center switches created to meet the unique requirements of data centers. This series caters to every type of data center deployment scenario covered through a pair of AC/DC hot-swappable power modules, an expansive range of high-speed interface combinations, and a modular N+1 hot-swappable fan design.
TRENDnet is a global provider of networking and surveillance solutions to small and medium-sized businesses that builds reliable, innovative, and easy-to-use networks. Its networks and surveillance solutions empower users to share network peripherals, broadband access, and multimedia content to enable true anywhere connectivity. TRENDnet provides a full range of dependable network switches like PoE, unmanaged, smart-managed, Layer 2 Managed, and industrial. The company also uses embedded GREENnet technology to reduce customers’ energy costs through up to 70% less power consumption.
Unmanaged switches. TRENDnet’s unmanaged switches are engineered to raise port density to eliminate network congestion and boost network efficiency. Additionally, installation is easy, as the switches are plug and play, therefore requiring no configuration.
Managed switches. TRENDnet offers managed ethernet and gigabit switches that enable users to set configurations for network monitoring, management, and traffic controls. Its EdgeSmart Switches feature web GUI management to reduce needless switch complexity while its Web Smart Switches have advanced managed switching features for more sophisticated networks.
Specialty network switches. Surveillance switches, flat switches, and rail switches are examples of the specialty network switches by TRENDnet. These switches are engineered to fit the unique networking purposes, requirements, and environments of their users.
Huawei is a global ICT (information and communications technology) provider that develops and delivers secure and trustworthy integrated solutions serving more than 3 billion people across the domains of telecommunications networks, smart devices, IT, and cloud services. Huawei offers network switches for diverse applications and network sizes, ranging from campus networks to cloud data centers.
Campus switches. Huawei CloudEngine S-Series Campus Switches are perfect for creating digital campus networks with high reliability, service intelligence, and less complex management across industries like enterprises, manufacturing, governments and more. These switches offer great agility, as clients can implement plug-and-play across the network, deploy in minutes, and respond to changes in real time with VXLAN and SDN.
Data center switches. CloudEngine data center switches are Ethernet switches often used in different network sizes and vast applications, in both high-end campus and data center networks. These switches are characterized by network automation, scaling, programmability and real-time visibility.
Network analyzers. Huawei offers iMaster NCE-FabricInsight as an intelligent analysis platform for data center networks. It erases the boundaries between networks and applications by ubiquitous network application analysis alongside visualized presentation. iMaster NCE-FabricInsight assists users to pick out faults and proactively identify risks before services are impacted.
Switching, alongside routing, will continue to be the core of networking and the skill sets of networking experts. Software-defined networking (SDN), however, will continue changing how enterprises design, plan, deploy, and operate their networks.
Additionally, the number of devices and technologies that require network connectivity continues to grow exponentially. This will greatly increase the demand for network engineers as well as increase the need for switches with much greater scalability.
Also see: Top Zero Trust Networking Solutions