After one of my network switches crashed catastrophically, I needed a replacement, so I went to eBay.
I should first explain what a network switch is. Each computer has an ethernet port (or uses Wifi, but most of mine use wires). The cable from that port, goes to an ethernet switch, and that acts as a kind of traffic manager. Like roads leading to a roundabout?
The switch that failed, was a 32 port switch, but I've grown a bit since then, and I looked for a 48 port switch. And I wanted it to run at 1000 mbit speed (gigabit) because I've been using gigabit speeds on an increasing number of computers. The cards cost just a couple of dollars now.
You have to be a bit careful; some switches have just a few gigabit ports and the others are all megabit. I wanted a switch that was all gigabit. So I went to eBay and rummaged.
I wound up buying a "3com Baseline Switch 2948-SFP Plus" for £30. And after a bit of thought, I bought another one for £35. These give me 48 gigabit ports, so I can put one on my front rack and one on the rear rack.
I installed the front rack switch, and that was working well. So I looked at the rear rack switch, and decided that before I installed it, I'd have a play around with it, to see what else it could do. And I was amazed! This is what is called a "managed switch". You can disable ports, or restrict the speed. You can monitor the throughput of each port, and tons more.
So after playing with my new switch, I installed it, so now my main Data Shed is entirely gigabit switches.
And then I went to eBay about bought another "3com Baseline Switch 2948-SFP Plus" for £35. The only thing I don't really understand, is why they are so cheap!