In July, one of our small business clients, running a mental-health service, moved their Limerick office to a new location downtown. Their needs are pretty usual to similar companies:
- A trusty Internet connection
- Solid WiFi
Wired laptops, printers and the wireless access points (APs) were connected to a Catalyst 2960 desktop switch, a small little fan-less, so quiet design. It also provides power to the APs.
WiFi is provided by Cisco 1140 access points. These units do hold a steady signal for Skype and other video apps, even in crowded downtown areas, while providing the usual expected WPA2 level encryption.
Internet connectivity is provided by Virgin Media (UPC), but the router in use is a Cisco 800 series. This provides everything you would expect from any home router (automatic addressing, DNS, etc.), just in a lot more robust and secure form. Device management is encrypted, it has an integrated firewall and Cisco releases software updates like clockwork, as opposed to some Asian vendors who maybe release one or two bugfixes during a products’ life. Cisco typically supports kit for ~10 years, which is a pretty long term investment. A virtual private network (VPN) channel to the main office is also provided, adding the capability to remotely use shared devices and drives and access the CCTV system and keep the recording away from the office. While power in cities is pretty stable, a standby power source (UPS) is always handy to have, especially for CCTV.
Kudos to Cisco for providing heavily discounted access to kit for charities! If you don’t necessary need the latest-greatest in speed, but need your office to be reliable, you could also consider refurbished Cisco kit. It is somewhat like fine wine.