Moore’s law states that the number of transistors in a computer chip doubles every two years.
Today, Moore’s law continues to give computer scientists and IT professionals a relative idea just how fast technology is changing. To put it another way, it’s safe to say that the performance and processing power of available computer and network equipment doubles about every two to four years. For a guy like me, working with it and watching it evolve every few months – it’s incredible.
What to look for when shopping for network upgrades
The phrase “You get what you pay for” has never been more true than with technology. Consider a piece of equipment you may already be familiar shopping for – a PC. You may have noticed when purchasing a new computer that prices range anywhere from $250-$2500. That’s quite a difference.
As with networking equipment, within this range there are three primary types of technology. The first type on the lowest end of the shopping spectrum is technology that has been around for as long as 8 years. It is old technology. It is the reason it is cheap and it is the reason it runs slower. On the flip side, if your needs are simple, making these kinds of purchases can be a way to save money, as long as you don’t go too cheap.
In the middle of the spectrum you have new, cutting edge technologies. Much faster, much more reliable. These technologies take up the largest volume of the entire buyer’s spectrum.
And finally on the highest end of the spectrum you have specialty equipment built for users with specific requirements such as gaming, photo editing, audio production, servers and more.
Networking purchases are much the same. You don’t want to buy networking equipment on the lowest tier and expect a significant performance increase. That being said, if you’re like most small business owners, you’re on a budget. So which equipment is the most important?
Recommended Network Upgrades
Device Type: Networking Switch with Gigabit Ethernet on all ports
Recommended: Netgear JGS524 Prosafe 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch
Purpose: The job of the switch is to act as a splitter for all local Ethernet cables before they connect to the router or gateway to the Internet. The switch facilitates the communication between computers and printers on the local network. Communication like accessing network shares, network databases and printing. The faster the switch, the faster these tasks can be accomplished.
Device Type: Router or Gateway Firewall
Recommended option A (for average level security): Check first to see that your current gateway device is a router from your Internet service provider or some other gateway device such as a VPN firewall. If the device is a router from your ISP, contact your Internet service provider and ask if you have their latest model available – An ISP will typically have upgraded routers available about every 4 years but you must contact them to take advantage of the upgrade.
Recommended option B (HIPAA compliant or high security): Cisco Meraki MX64
Purpose: Your router or gateway firewall is responsible for connecting your network to the Internet. The faster your device, the faster your Internet connection. Cisco Meraki firewalls have become the gold standard in reliability and security for networks requiring enhanced security.
Type: Internet Download Speed – Measured in Mbps (megabits per second)
Recommended: 25Mbps minimum, 75Mbps preferred – Contact your ISP and ask what download speed you are paying for.
Purpose: This often goes hand in hand with your ISP’s router. My advice, if you’re not getting a minimum of 25Mbps, it’s time for an upgrade. You can also check your current download and upload speed by going to Speedtest.net.
Device Type: Wireless Access Point
Recommended: Unifi AP AC LR – Long Range Access Point
Purpose: Facilitates wireless connectivity to your network and also the Internet, increases wireless speed and signal strength with this superior wireless access point.
I hope this helps with your endeavors to create a faster, more secure network. If you need further assistance contact me at the number to the right or by sending me a message here.