Cisco Systems, Inc. was founded in 1984 by Stanford University professors Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, who had been instrumental in connecting computers at the university. The company went public in 1990 with a market capitalization of $224 million, and by 2000, the company had surpassed Microsoft in valuation, worth $500 billion. Currently, the company has a valuation of $177 billion and a 2021 revenue of almost $50 billion.
Cisco, as the company is commonly known, manufactures and sells networking hardware, software, and telecommunications equipment and specializes in specific tech markets like the Internet of Things (IoT), domain security, and videoconferencing. It has set many standards for data networks that are the backbones of large and small businesses.
Three of Cisco’s essential solutions for small businesses are a part of their router hardware offerings. These are wireless networking, wired networking, and VOIP. It’s important to know what a router does and the nature of these three network types, so let’s get into some details.
Cisco was the first company to provide a commercial, multi-protocol router when it shipped its very first product in 1986. It was a router for the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) protocol suite, essentially a way for businesses to connect internal networks to the early Internet. The standards were set, and Cisco has remained the premier router provider ever since.
What is a router?
A router is a device that connects networks or subnetworks to one another and manages traffic between them. A router in your business is what connects your local area network (LAN) to a wide area network (WAN)
A LAN comprises all network-connected devices in a geographic area, like your office, and usually requires only a single router.
A WAN is a vast network that crosses large geographic areas. It could consist of multiple offices around the country connecting their LANs to the company WAN. It is a collection of LANs talking to each other, and the world’s largest WAN is the Internet itself.
Think of a router as an air traffic control tower that directs data packets to their destination just as the air traffic controller directs planes. That data might need to be routed to a specific computer or printer or to an external network, like the Internet.
This explanation is pretty simplistic. Routers and their functioning can get far more defined and complex within larger organizations moving a lot of data around.
Explaining the Three Router Types
As mentioned, small businesses are typically concerned with wired and wireless networks and VOIP (voice over IP). So let’s get into a simple explanation of each and how Cisco routers fit the need.
The traditional, wired networks, are still very prevalent and favored by businesses for their data transmission speeds that exceed wireless networks. Go into any medium to large company, and every individual computer and printer is connected to an Ethernet wall jack.
Small businesses also benefit from increased speed and lack of wireless dead spots making wireless networks attractive to them.
Another wired network benefit is reliability because external factors do not impact the data transmission. That wire can also extend as far as you need, connecting two buildings, whereas a wireless device cannot send a signal that far.
Lastly, security is more significant over a wired LAN due to there being no way for a cyber thief to connect to your network without physically plugging in.
Cisco wired routers are high-speed and integrate a firewall to keep intruders out of your network. If you are connecting multiple branches, Cisco’s SD-WAN technology is integrated, offering a more efficient data management scheme for your company’s WAN. It optimizes cloud connectivity and increases security.
“Wireless networks are commonplace and often used by small offices that want the convenience that comes with them and the lack of need to pull wires to computers and other hardware,” says Hazim Gaber, mechanical engineer & CEO of HSM Global and ehZee corporation. “Many small businesses like to have a way for visitors or patrons to connect as needed, and wireless networks are perfect for such applications.”
Cisco’s wireless routers for small businesses provide best-in-class secure connectivity. They offer the technology for a virtual private network (VPN) to provide business-class connectivity to remote offices or employees. Logging into your network on the road isn’t an issue and is very secure.
For those businesses that want to separate guest access from the ability to access their internal network, virtual LANs (VLANs) can be created. VLANs can also be used to separate employees or departments from sensitive information.
VoIP stands for voice over IP, and a VoIP router is a specialized router that offers you the ability to make and receive calls over the Internet. While calls can technically be made utilizing your regular Internet setup, many VoIP providers suggest using a VoIP router because of better performance and call quality.
Again, Cisco is the leader in VoIP routers offering routers with very high numbers of voice data channels. Additionally, Cisco VoIP routers work with various VoIP technologies.
Cisco offers an extensive selection of VoIP routers to fit any business’ needs.
Many businesses need a PBX that routes calls to the correct extensions. Cisco offers PBX solutions that work together with their VoIP routers for a truly unified solution.
The network needs of small businesses are crucial and need consideration given to the best hardware and technology. Cisco has remained the leader in networking since it was first established in the 80s and has technology solutions to help your small business excel.