Static routing at the office
Netgear is expanding its line of ProSafe Advanced Smart Switches to include new models that do static routing. Static routing has long been available on switches for enterprise customers, but the feature could also be helpful for smaller offices, such as those with only 100 to 200 desktop PC users, said Sanjay Kumar, director of product marketing at the company.
By now, most offices of those sizes have divided up their local-area networks into multiple virtual LANS. One VLAN could be for human resources, another could be for production, and so on.
While divvying up a LAN into VLANs is helpful for matters of security and ease of administration, it also means that any network traffic that needs to go between two VLANs must be conveyed to the router to hop from one VLAN to the next.
With static routing, the switches themselves can route packets between VLANs, Kumar said.
Static routing in this context means that the one switch would have the IP address to the gateway ' in this case, another switch ' of the other VLAN. Either a switch could be connected to two switches, each dedicated to an individual VLAN, or a single smaller switch can manage two smaller VLANs and shuttle the traffic between the two internally.
Either approach could save an office some money and improve network speeds. For an office whose router is already overworked, buying a Netgear switch could save money over upgrading that router or buying a second one.
And the communications would be faster because switches do their switching entirely by hardware as opposed to the software-based router approach.
Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.