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If you want clearer digital communication in your office, start by looking at the switches. The more switches you have, the more diluted the connection will be.

What exactly is a switch?

A switch is a device that manages the flow of data by connecting devices together on a network through packet switching. They filter and forward data to the devices that need to receive it, rather than broadcasting data out of each of its ports.

Imagine driving on a busy 4-lane highway going 75 mph. All of a sudden, it merges down to 3 lanes, and then 2 lanes. All in the matter of 1 mile. What does that look like? A mess, that’s what. All of a sudden, you’re going 10 mph as everyone tries to merge into these 2 lanes. That is what happens when you use too many switches to cable your office.

Most people think that they can save money by buying switches to expand their network across the office, but in reality, the network will start to back up and throw out packets necessary to make calls.

So what’s the solution?

Invest in a good switch, that will automatically route connections between individual users. If you have to use more than one switch, invest in switches that are stackable, or modules that will communicate faster and act as if they were one switch. Intelligent switches will keep of record of MAC addresses, and can identify which port it needs to send data to.

For example, you would want a 48 port switch that delivers the same amount of speed to all the cables connected. A 10/100 mbps switch will allocate 10/100Mbps to each of it’s ports. Rather than using one 8 port switch, and connecting another switch onto that to connect to 24 more people. This route condenses the 10/100Mbps so that each switch attached is getting less and less data. Just like the highway analogy.

Phones are not forgiving; if you have a poor network infrastructure, the sound quality is going to be greatly affected. Stay tuned for next week where we will dive into routers on our journey of office infrastructure and sound quality on IP systems.

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