When choosing the building blocks
for your network, plan for future capacity requirements
Networking is an essential element
of a connected enterprise, regardless of the vertical.
So vital is networking for any enterprise with ERP or
even basic messaging, that even minimal downtime can
impact business. Hubs, switches, routers and structured
cabling are the core network building blocks. Almost
all respondents have already invested in some or all
of these components.
But spending on networking
hardware is clearly on the decline.
Most of the respondents planning
to invest in networking gear are from the medium or
large enterprises. These are typically companies that
are extending the existing LAN/WAN or going in for a
The number of companies investing
in Hubs during 2003-2004 has dropped to 39 percent.
Companies are gradually replacing hubs with unmanaged
switches, since the cost of unmanaged switches has dropped
Investment in Switches and
Routers is also dropping this year. 50 percent of the
respondents plan to invest in Switches and 43 percent
plan to invest in Routers this year. Since it is mainly
the small and medium companies who are making these
investments, we can assume that the large companies
are not planning to make any significant changes to
the existing WAN this year, due to cuts in spending.
Ditto for structured cabling: 42 percent plan to invest
in structured cabling for 2003-04.
Among the three cabling options
available (Fiber, Co-axial and Structured Cabling),
Structured Cabling is the most cost effective option.
Fiber is better than structured cabling (in terms of
bandwidth), but because of its high cost it's used mainly
on the backbone.
Those using bandwidth intensive
applications (like CAD/CAM or multimedia authoring),
or are planning to build new networks with provision
to manage additional capacity, should go in for CAT-6
For high-speed networks do
consider the pros and cons of both, pure Fiber and Optical
Network Printers are increasingly
being used as a shared resource in workgroups. 67 percent
of the respondents have already invested in network
printers and 37 percent plan to do so this year.
When choosing a network printer
CIOs should consider the volume of print jobs, number
of users on the network, and type of applications that
require printing. Do you need extra features like duplex
printing (both sides), printing on various media (transparencies,
photographic paper etc)? You'll be paying extra for
each of these features.
Also consider printer speed
(pages per minute), whether you need color, and the
amount of printer memory.