As businesses grow increasingly reliant upon fast, stable connectivity, they need networks that can keep pace with demand. Switches are essential components of those networks, managing and directing data and ensuring reliability, efficiency and speed.
Network switches come in different sizes and configurations, depending on requirements. This article offers a look at the top enterprise network switches for 2023.
Table of Contents
- Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series
- HPE Aruba Switches
- Fortinet FortiSwitch 100 Series
- NETGEAR JGS524
- Juniper Networks EX
- Features of Enterprise Network Switches
- Considerations for Choosing Enterprise Network Switches
- Bottom Line: Best Enterprise Network Switches
Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series
The Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series network switches offer reliability and exceptional performance and are specifically designed to handle large amounts of traffic while providing fast, secure connections—for example, the Catalyst 9300 switches work for large deployments looking for stackable options.
Cisco enterprise switches are straightforward to manage and configure, work well with advanced technology, and offer several options compatible with enterprise network connections, making them a popular choice for larger businesses of all kinds.
Pricing varies based on number of ports, modular configurations, and stacking capabilities.
- Works intuitively with Cisco’s DNA Center, providing better network security, insights and management
- Offers Zero-trust network policies for businesses to implement
- Provides 3D wireless heat map metrics for Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Some models include embedded threat intelligence and encryption (Catalyst 9600)
HPE Aruba Switches
Aruba offers highly reputable switches designed for performance and dependability, and are custom built to manage heavy traffic with secure connections. The HPE-owned company offers Local Area Network (LAN), data center and enterprise switches.
Unlike Cisco, which uses different Operating Systems (OS) for its switches, Aruba’s switches all use a single OS, which simplifies things for businesses. Because they are less well-known than Cisco switches, staff might need additional time or training for implementation. Most of the competitively priced Aruba switches include next-day replacement and three years of support.
- Facilitates configuration and troubleshooting with Aruba NetEdit
- API-driven Aruba Fabric Composer simplifies network provisioning
- Aruba Network Analytics Engine (NAE) monitors network performance and allows troubleshooting using APIs
Fortinet FortiSwitch 100 Series
Fortinet, known best for its firewalls, is a relative newcomer to the enterprise network switch scene. The company designs switches with cybersecurity as a top priority, and its 100 series offers enterprise network switch solutions for everything from a business’s access center to its data center.
The Fortinet 100 series switches provide options from eight to 48 ports with a range of Power over Ethernet (PoE) options. In addition, the company offers rugged options for protection in outdoor or on-the-move network environments. Fortinet also provides its Fortilan cloud management system for switches and other Fortinet networking devices.
Fortinet switches are less expensive than other options, especially when compared to Cisco or Aruba, but managing the Fortinet network from the cloud may incur additional costs.
- Extends Security Fabric protection to the Ethernet access layer
- Enables stacking up to 300 switches across Intermediate Distribution Frames (IDFs) with Fortilink
- Allows configuration and management of all switch models using FortiGate
The NETGEAR JGS524 is an excellent choice for medium-sized enterprises that require a large number of ports. The unmanaged switch offers 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports and is designed for scalability and businesses with growing network needs.
The reasonably priced enterprise switch has the ability to operate in full duplex or half duplex mode and is ideal for moving large data graphics and multimedia files across a network. With a high port count, it supports standard 10/100/1000Mbps devices in half-duplex mode and up to 2,000 Mbps in full duplex mode.
The easy plug-and-play installation can help eliminate confusion around software configurations, though it may be less customizable, and it offers silent operation due to its fan-free build and organizational rack mounting design.
- 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Flexible Auto UplinK™ Technology automatically adjusts for varying Ethernet cables, limiting downtime
- Energy-efficient Ethernet mode lessens costs of operation
- Auto-sensing ports can optimize speed
Juniper Networks EX
The cloud-ready Juniper Networks EX Series are an excellent solution for high-performing large businesses. The EX4400 and EX4400 Multigigabit switches work with Juniper’s Mist Artificial Intelligence (AI), combining data science with Machine Learning (ML). Mist AI uses data from Juniper devices to facilitate operations such as detecting anomalies and correlating events.
For enterprises that regularly stream large amounts of data, voice and video, Juniper’s EX3400 seamlessly integrates with Juniper Mist Cloud to replace manual troubleshooting with automated tasks to make Wi-Fi reliable and measurable.
Finally, enterprise teams can combine Juniper’s Wi-Fi with EX series switches for wired and wireless connections.
- Mist Cloud enables automated operations, unique visibility to service levels and real-time threat intelligence
- EX4400 switches work with Mist AI
- Wi-Fi solution allows wired or wireless connections
Features of Enterprise Network Switches
When comparing enterprise network switches, consider their critical features to identify how well they will meet specific requirements. .
High port density: Enterprise switches offer a high number of physical ports, such as network and hubs, to accommodate current and future enterprise needs.
High-speed connectivity: One of the most important features of enterprise switches is high-speed connectivity to support the data transfer needs of businesses, which tend to have heavy data requirements.
Management and monitoring: Advanced management and monitoring features in enterprise switches allow IT teams to manage the network from one central location, facilitating troubleshooting and ensuring peak performance.
Power over Ethernet (POE): PoE is a layering technology that combines data signals and electrical power into one Ethernet cable, making it possible to extend networks to remote locations and devices.
Quality of Service: Quality of Service (QoS) features help prioritize traffic based on importance, ensuring that critical applications receive the necessary bandwidth and resources to function.
Scalability: Enterprise switches are often designed to be scalable, which lets networks expand as business grows. Switch scalability makes a cost-effective solution for enterprises that need to scale their networks over time.
Security features: Advanced security features help to protect networks against unauthorized access, data breaches and cyberattacks. Some features include access control, authentication and encryption.
Considerations for Choosing Enterprise Network Switches
When choosing enterprise network switches, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. One of your first aspects of thinking should be the size of your enterprise and the number of devices connected to the network. Knowing the number of devices requiring connectivity will help you determine the number of ports and the bandwidth requirements of your switches.
Another consideration is the type of traffic that will be going through your network. The level of security you’ll need is another huge consideration. In addition, think about the scalability of your switches. For example, it helps to consider possible future growth and whether an enterprise switch can accommodate extending your business. Finally, consider the management capabilities you have on-site and if you need support from your vendor.
Considering these factors, you can choose the correct enterprise network switches to meet your needs and help your business succeed.
Bottom Line: Best Enterprise Network Switches
Overall, enterprise network switches are a critical component of modern business networks. They offer high-speed connectivity, advanced security features, scalability, and management and monitoring capabilities that help ensure the network’s smooth operation.
Enterprise switches offer more robust builds and designs to support large enterprise networks. With the right network switch, businesses can streamline operations, increase productivity, and enhance their overall network performance.
What is the difference between a home switch and an enterprise switch?
Home switches are mostly used to connect routers, while enterprise switches are primarily used to connect Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet networks that require heavier and more complex traffic loads.
Where are enterprise networks used?
A large company may have an extended enterprise network that connects buildings around its headquarters with high-speed internet. Enterprise networks are also found in small businesses that work on LANs or local area networks.
What is enterprise network equipment?
An enterprise network consists of hardware and software connecting a company’s computers, servers, and other network devices. Enterprise networks allow employees to connect and share resources while accessing internal and external applications.