The fiber optics networks and hybrid (copper-fiber) networks feature multiple network switches. These switches are integrated with the transmission cables to direct the data to addressed receiving devices. The switches also act as pilot devices when it comes to terminating or forwarding the stream of data. Since the operation of the Ethernet networks is highly dependent on these switches, it is essential to have the switches updated to the best potential. Since the high capacity networks rely on wireless networks, the switches commonly operate on IP protocols or Wi-Fi. No matter if the network switches are wired or wireless, it is essential to upgrade them for the best performance. To do the same, the features of the switches must be upgraded. However, the importance of upgrading switches is yet to be understood by many people. That is why this post discusses different reasons to upgrade switches, demanded frequency of upgradation, and process of replacement in terms of network switch replacement cycle.
Reasons to Upgrade Switches
A few reasons that promote the need to upgrade network switches are listed below.
- The networking devices are upgraded frequently. Therefore, the compatibility of the switches with the devices has to be ensured. This may require a functional upgrade, or hardware upgrade in terms of connecting mechanism, mounting mechanisms, etc.
- The network switches come with various managerial features such as port control, port mirroring, link aggregation, web-based interface management, VLAN, port statistics, and many more for network management. All these features enhance the performance of the network switches in many ways. All these features require periodic firmware upgrades during troubleshooting and active operations.
- The wireless networks feature IP-based network switches. Such networks are integrated with multiple devices like mobile phones, tablets, PCs, security cameras, etc over a Wi-Fi connection. The switches must be upgraded to ensure compatibility with Android and iOS devices linked to the network.
How Often Network Switch Upgrade Is Required?
The network switches are electro-mechanical parts integrated with the software-based features. So the different aspects of these switches may require an upgrade at varying durations. Let us discuss the time span of switch upgradation.
- The security features of the network switches require yearly upgrades. In order to ensure the secured operation, prevent data loss and safeguard against third-party intrusions into the Ethernet network, the security functions should be upgraded yearly or twice a year for sensitive environments. These upgrades would include server security upgrade, firewall upgrade, network user authentication, and license upgrade, etc.
- The hardware of the network switches generally has a life span of 5 to 6 years. When used in abusive environments, the hardware is prone to damage. To prevent hardware damage, a physical security upgrade is required. This can include port testing, fiber-link evaluation, connector mechanism testing, etc.
- Wi-Fi-based networks consist of IP switches. These network switches have a life span of 2 to 3 years. However, the Wi-Fi protocols have to be upgraded based on the Internet standards and guidelines. For example: if the switches are integrated with 802.11n Wi-Fi, then the upgrade to 802.11ac may be required.
If in case, the operator fails to upgrade the switches in time, then the possibilities of abrupt network failure, data losses, and security threats are high. If the lifespan of the switches terminates, the network switch replacement cycle has to be adopted.
The network switch replacement cycle may involve the replacement of components of a fiber optics switch, or the replacement of the entire switch with the new one. In case of abrupt damage or end of the lifespan, the replacement is performed. Adopting an upgrade or a well-planned replacement cycle help enhance the functional and efficiency-centric aspects of network switches.
Now that the reasons to upgrade switches and how often it needs to be done are quite clear, it is essential to acknowledge that the quality of switches can ultimately enhance the performance. That is why you should source high-quality network switches from only reliable suppliers like VERSITRON. The company offers MSA-compliant network switches that are known for their quality, performance, and efficiency. Also, the upgrade or replacement services should be sourced from experts. You can also check our fiber optic swiches buying guide to choose right switches