Device Selection for a Small Network

In this article we will discuss Device Selection for a Small Network, will make brief discussion on Device Selection for a Small Network, In last article we discuss about Small Network Topologies.

In order to meet user requirements, even small networks require planning and design. Planning ensures that all requirements, cost factors, and deployment options are given due consideration.

Device Selection for a Small Network
Device Selection for a Small Network

When implementing a small network, one of the first design considerations is the type of intermediate devices to use to support the network. When selecting the type of intermediate devices, there are a number of factors that need to be considered, as shown in the figure.


The cost of a switch or router is determined by its capacity and features. The device capacity includes the number and types of ports available and the backplane speed. Other factors that impact the cost are network management capabilities, embedded security technologies, and optional advanced switching technologies. The expense of cable runs required to connect every device on the network must also be considered. Another key element affecting cost considerations is the amount of redundancy to incorporate into the network.

Speed and Types of Ports/Interfaces

Choosing the number and type of ports on a router or switch is a critical decision. Newer computers have built-in 1 Gb/s NICs. 10 Gb/s ports are already included with some workstations and servers. While it is more expensive, choosing Layer 2 devices that can accommodate increased speeds allows the network to evolve without replacing central devices.


Networking devices come in both fixed and modular physical configurations. Fixed configurations have a specific number and type of ports or interfaces. Modular devices have expansion slots that provide the flexibility to add new modules as requirements evolve. Switches are available with additional ports for high-speed uplinks. Routers can be used to connect different types of networks. Care must be taken to select the appropriate modules and interfaces for the specific media.

Operating System Features and Services

Depending on the version of the operating system, a network device can support certain features and services, such as:

  • Security
  • Quality of Service (QoS)
  • Voice over IP (VoIP)
  • Layer 3 switching
  • Network Address Translation (NAT)
  • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

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