What Todays Small Business Network Looks Like
Over the last 20 years, the small-business owner has become the part-time IT guy. Adding more applications on to the network (voip pbx, video, wireless, hosted internet applications) and increased security (firewalls) create the need for onsite on the fly tech support.
The network has replaced the phone as the greatest communication tool used by small businesses. It can be a real problem if its down, but it can also be a huge asset if its running properly, consistent and stable. Part of making sure its stable is to design it properly from the beginning. So lets take a look at common factors in todays small business network.
We offer Cisco small business voip phone systems. Some might say for less. The typical network we run into has 2 subnets (2 VLANS) one for voice and one for data. An ISP modem enters the network thru a firewall (or at least it should). Its common to have the firewall provide Network Address Translation (NAT) by converting the 2 subnets into a single useable address for the internet service provider.
Whats a VLAN, why care?
So a vlan is a single logical network. However instead of it being a “physical” switch, it is a “virtual” network. It may share a switch, switchports, and even cabling with other VLANs. A good way to think of it is having 2 VLANs means you have 2 separate ethernets. Your firewall may route between these subnets but other than that they cannot reach eachother. The reason for keeping them separate is.
The single best reason to have 2 VLANs is you dont want to conflicting DHCP servers on the same ethernet. It will cross up different subnet devices (such as phones not connecting to the PBX because they have an IP from the Data Subnet).
Other advantages of vlan/subnetting include enhancing routing efficiency, network management control, and improving network security. Also to control multicasts and broadcasts. Plus its clean and proper, and clean and proper means easier administration down the road.
In our case, if the PBX is on its own VLAN it will be responsible for handing out IP addresses and maintaining the layer 3 subnet for the voip VLAN. Your data VLAN is most likely defined by your firewall (or ISP modem if you don’t have a firewall and if you don’t go to ebay right now and get one refurbished. Sonicwalls work great and are too inexpensive not to have).
Also consider if you want to go gigabit etherent to the desktop. What is your total internet speed. If its over 100Mg then you want gigabit to the desktop. If you deal with any types of large imaging files (cat scans, xray, cad drawings) you want gigabit to the desktop. Pretty much if you can afford it, you want gigabit to the desktop. Check Cisco 2960 and 3750G switches.
If you’re in doubt on vendors. Go Cisco in your network and Sonicwall on your Firewall. Good refurb options can be found for both.
What to remember is to get the design done properly from the beginning. Put some forethought into layout and the logical flow of the network, it will save you time and trouble down the road.
VoIP PBX Express offers a range of New and Refurbished Turn-Key Cisco VoIP PBX Telephone Systems for small businesses throughout the US. Cisco Phone Systems For Small Businesses In The USA. Shop Now >