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Golden Times For SMBs

If you run a network in a small to medium-sized business, you've got a lot to smile about. Everyone wants your money, and they're throwing new products and software at you so fast, your head will spin. You've got a chance to buy the kind of networking products and services that until recently only the big boys could afford.

Just this week, Cisco announced announced new switches and software aimed straight at you - right-priced, easy to use and install, and making it easy to deploy converged voice and data networks. And Proxim followed suit with WLAN tools for small and medium-sized business. Meanwhile, McAfee rolled out an SMB intrusion prevention appliance. And all that is just the beginning.

Why are you the center of attention all of a sudden? In a word, money. Cisco estimates that the market for SMB networking is $10 billion today, and growing at a compound annual rate of 15 to 20 percent.

But you need to take care when buying. Make sure that the products and services aren't just warmed-over enterprise-level ones, and that they truly are aimed at your needs. That means simple deployment, easy management, and maybe smaller form factors. Don't settle for yesterday's equipment at marked-down prices.

So buy carefully, and you'll be able to build an enterprise-quality network at small business-sized prices.