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Switch It On

It may be high time to maximize your network's performance, now that there are newer, cheaper Ethernet switches in town.

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This story appears in the February 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When your business is growing, your technology needs to grow with it. You not only have to consider the computers your employees will need, but also how they'll integrate with your company network. The humble Ethernet switch is the key connection between your workers and your network. The right Ethernet switch will optimize your network performance, while maintaining the investment in equipment you already have. If you're suffering from poor network performance, a switch might help clear up your problems.

The big news on the Ethernet scene is the arrival of a new generation of relatively cheap switches capable of transferring a gigabit worth of data per second. These 1000Mbps bad boys are the wave of the future for networking. They're not only faster than their 100Mbps and 10Mbps predecessors, but also backward compatible so you can upgrade your network as your budget allows. Most of the switches in our chart support gigabit connections. They cost only a few dollars more than the equivalent slower switches from previous generations, but will give you all the bandwidth you'll need for the foreseeable future.

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