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Networking devices, also knows as hardware, are the physical pieces of equipment required for communication and interaction between different devices on a network. A computer network, especially with access to the web, allows users to talk in real-time and send files to others wherever they are in the world, which is a significant benefit for businesses. Offices need wired and wireless networking equipment to create networks that interconnect printers, so anyone within an organization’s network can print documents to a single printer.
Wireless routers are essential networking devices that serve as Wi-Fi® hubs for connecting computers, smartphones, network media players, smart TVs and smart home devices to the Internet. Most routers support a guest wireless network that lets you set up separate and secure access for clients in your business. A built-in USB 2.0 port is suitable for connecting a printer to the network, or for sharing external storage devices across the organization. Most models support 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) for longer ranges, while integrated Ethernet ports provide for wired connections to desktop computers.
A whole-business Wi-Fi system delivers a sturdy connection to every corner of the building using multiple signal transmitters for a seamless roaming experience. Some mesh networking devices have one or two powerful routers offering tri-band Wi-Fi for maximum connection speeds, regardless of the number of devices on a network. Many mesh wireless systems include an app that helps in setting up the network, customizing settings and monitoring Wi-Fi speed from anywhere. A few models feature Amazon® Alexa so that you can control all features with just the sound of your voice.
Unmanaged Ethernet switches with five to eight ports are suitable for small business and home offices with a few devices, while managed units offer the IT department tools for configuring multilayer networks. These networking devices only send information to physical connections linked to addresses on data packets to improve transfer speeds, reduce congestion and help isolate data. Select switch models provide 2.5- and 10-gigabit ports optimized for 802.11ac access point deployment. Many switches also support IP4 and IP6 networking protocols, ensuring compatibility with current and future wired networking requirements.
Networking devices include access points, which are simple to configure for home office and small office deployments. Some access points (APs) are wall mountable to reduce clutter on desktops. Wireless networking accessories also feature signal boosters that allow intranet or Internet devices to reach Wi-Fi-enabled devices farther away from access points. An omnidirectional antenna creates a strong signal strength throughout your property.
Free up space on laptops, tablets and smartphones, and keep uploaded data safely encrypted and protected in a storage device. Software on most network attached storage (NAS) units allows safe access to files remotely with a secure Internet connection. For added flexibility, some storage networking devices provide multiple bays for adding hard drives for more storage, while USB ports allow you to attach several hard drives.