The LAN topology plays a critical role in ensuring the reliability and performance of an enterprise network. The LAN topology is typically composed of access, distribution, core, and edge switches, each with their own specific role in the network architecture:
- Access switches are used to connect end-user devices, such as desktop computers, laptops, phones, and other infrastructure devices such as CCTV cameras and wireless access points. Access switches can provide power on demand up to 60W per port, depending on the PoE standard. Often access points are situated in smaller wiring closets around the building, due to the distance limitations of copper data cabling.
- Distribution switches are typically located in the middle layer of the network architecture and connect access switches to core switches. In smaller networks the distribution and core roles can be consolidated, but where distribution switches are needed they are often concerned with fibre aggregation, that is managing fibre links to access switches in outlying wiring closets.
- Core switches are the backbone of the LAN and form the high-speed backbone of the network. They provide connectivity for servers, storage and other shared resources and enable high-speed communication between different segments of the network. Core switches typically have a faster switching capacity and higher port speeds, often 10Gbps or higher.
- Edge switches are located at the perimeter of the network, outside the firewalls, and provide connectivity to the SD-WAN, cloud services and other external networks.
Overall, the LAN topology is an essential component of any enterprise network.
How we can help
When we design a LAN we look at the number and type of access ports required, the PoE requirement, the distances involved and whether we need outlying cabinets, how many ports are needed for servers, routers, etc., Cabinet and UPS sizing, and many other factors.
We also consider the risk profile of the business. Would downtime cause significant disruption to operations and negatively impact productivity? If so, we will design with high availability and redundancy in mind. This can be achieved through the use of redundant switches, routers, and other networking devices that provide fail-over capabilities in the event of network failures.
If you're considering refreshing your local area network or deploying a new one from scratch, we would be happy to share our expertise with you.