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As a current or aspiring small-business owner, you may very well need to create an arrangement that gives your work space fast, reliable internet. Whether it be at an office, store location, or in your home, internet is pivotal to many of the daily functions in businesses today, as you can use it to make your products and services much more readily available for customers. Internet is also the means by which you can communicate with others for a variety of purposes. You’ll want to build a network in which many devices in your workplace are connected and can transfer information smoothly and securely. In order to assemble your own connection, you should know the basic components of a network setup.
A switch is responsible for connecting multiple devices together in the same network. This can include computers and other machines such as printers. It is the means by which devices on the network can communicate with ease. It recognizes the physical address of each device in order to send messages it receives from one device to the correct recipient. You should also note that network switches connect with components through cables that are plugged into their many ports.
There are two types of switches: unmanaged and managed. Unmanaged switches provide simple connection of devices in a fixed configuration. Managed switches allow you to adjust communications by grouping together certain devices and prioritizing some over others.
Many people are familiar with a router, at least on a fundamental level, as they are used in most homes for internet access. The role they play in a network is to let multiple devices share a common internet connection. Without it, your devices would only be able to communicate with each other. At present, many routers also include switches, so you only need to obtain the one device to start up a small network.
A router can usually connect devices wirelessly through Wi-Fi, as well as through wires since it has ports for Ethernet cables. Sometimes, you may still need a switch in addition to a router if you need more ethernet ports than the router possesses by itself.
The last basic components in network setups are the cables. The Ethernet cables in your network are the physical pathways that data takes to get from device to switch or router and vice versa. While their role is straightforward to understand, there can be some complexity as to the different types out there. Different cables may have different speeds at which they can transfer information. There are also various physical lengths to choose from, which can have some effect on speeds once they go longer than a certain threshold. Depending on where a cable will sit, you should also consider the type of jacket that it is enclosed in so that it does not become damaged.
If you have specific requirements for your cables and are unsure which ones would be best fitted to your network, you can consult a guide on network cables to gain a better understanding of them. In many settings, though, Cat6 ethernet cables are sufficient.