Data Center Networking Equipment

Data Center Networking Equipment Overview

Data center networking equipment includes devices that connect computing and storage resources, enabling the delivery of shared computer applications and data.

Network equipment is required for communication and interaction between hardware on a computer network. Networking equipment combines, splits, switches, boosts, or directs packets of information across a computer or telecommunications network.

Networking equipment supports different protocols to allow a variety of devices to communicate. Network protocols are a set of rules, conventions, and data structures that dictate how devices exchange data across networks. Protocols allow devices to understand the electronic signals they send and receive while communicating over network connections.

Data center networking equipment include:

NIC – Network interface card also known as a network adapter card, an Ethernet card, or a LAN (Local Area Network) card, allow networking devices to communicate with other networked devices.

Switches - Connect devices on a network to send and receive data. They use MAC (Media Access Control) addresses (unique identifiers) to send data packets to destination ports.

Routers – Connect different networks and receive, analyze, and forward data packets. They connect different network segments, different network protocols, connect smaller networks into a large network, break large networks into smaller ones, and connect different network architectures, and media types. Central routers are the high-speed backbone of a network with the ability to support many LANs. Routers can also be local, remote, internal, external, and peripheral. Router types include wireless, broadband, core, edge, and brouters (bridge routers).

Gateways – Nodes that connect networks, including those operating with different transmission protocols, act as a protocol converter providing compatibility between the different protocols. They forward data packets from a local network to a remote network. They can be unidirectional or bidirectional. Types of gateways include traditional network gateways, cloud storage gateways, email gateways, internet to orbit (satellite) gateways, IoT gateways, and VoIP gateways.

Multiplexers - Combine multiple signals into one output signal.

Repeaters – Amplify and retransmit signals to ensure signals are transmitted clearly throughout the network. They can be digital or analog, wired or wireless, local, or remote.

Firewalls – Safeguard a network against unauthorized access.

Transceivers – Connect nodes and send and receive both analog and digital signals. This functionality is built into network cards but is also available as a physical device. They can convert electrical signals to optical signals and vice versa.

Bridges –Break down larger networks into smaller segments, connect different media types, and network architectures.

Hubs - Connect multiple devices in a single LAN. Hubs can be passive, active (providing repeater functionality), or intelligent (supporting network management functions) and are primarily used in older networks.

Top Rated Data Center Networking Products

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2022

These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.

Data Center Networking Products

(1-25 of 46) Sorted by Most Reviews

The list of products below is based purely on reviews (sorted from most to least). There is no paid placement and analyst opinions do not influence their rankings. Here is our Promise to Buyers to ensure information on our site is reliable, useful, and worthy of your trust.

Cisco Nexus Series Switches

Cisco Nexus is a series of network switches.

Dell PowerConnect Switches

Dell PowerConnect Switches

Customer Verified
Top Rated

Dell PowerConnect is a series of networking switches.

Cisco Nexus Dashboard

Cisco Nexus Dashboard

Customer Verified
Top Rated

Cisco Nexus Dashboard provides a simplified, centralized data center dashboard that enables businesses to manage their hybrid cloud network operations.

Cisco Optical Networking

Cisco Optical Networking is a suite of products supporting data center networking, including the NCS 1000, 2000, 4000, 4200, and the Cisco Evolved Programmable Network Manager (Cisco EPN Manager), as well as Cisco ONS 15000 series platforms and devices.

Cradlepoint Routers

Cradlepoint in Boise offers a range of routers supporting cellular or wireless failover, branch and IoT networks, and related needs, available through a variety of appliances, and via the Cradlepoint virtual edition router.

Lumen Ethernet (formerly CenturyLink Ethernet)

Lumen Ethernet services (formerly CenturyLink Ethernet services) power secure, high-availability network solutions that enable high-performance voice, video and data applications. Lumen Ethernet’s private connectivity, scalable bandwidth and configuration options make it ideal for…

Extreme VDX (formerly Brocade VDX)

The Extreme VDX series of switches (formerly Brocade VDX) was acquired by Extreme Networks in 2017 during the Broadcom acquisition of Brocade and the selling off of some of the company's assets.

HPE FlexFabric

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) offers the FlexFabric product line of data center networking equipment.

Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch

Alcatel-Lucent provides the OmniSwitch family of switches, providing data center switching, Ethernet & LAN switches, support for IoT and edge solutions, SDN, ruggedization and industrial-grade solutions, and WebSmart switches.

Dell EMC PowerSwitch S Series (Force10)

Based on the former Force10 switches, the Dell EMC PowerSwitch S Series are a varied series of data center switches.

Cisco NCS Optical Series

The vendor states users can improve a network’s flexibility and cut costs with the Cisco NCS Optical Series. With its Circuit Emulation technology, the NCS Optical Series offers any-to-any connectivity, along with savings over traditional TDM transport architectures. Network operators…

Arista 7000 series

The Arista 7000 series is a line of networking switches, from Arista in Santa Clara, California.

CenturyLink SD-WAN Solutions

CenturyLink® SD-WAN with hybrid connectivity is a complete WAN solution supporting scalable networks across a range of connectivity types. They integrate disparate connectivity types into seamless hybrid software-defined WAN.Gain complete visibility through a centralized customer…

Juniper Apstra System

Apstra in Menlo Park offers a multi-vendor network operating system. Apstra’s Intent-Based Networking aims to empower organizations to automate all aspects of the network design, build, deploy, and operate phases. The vendor states their solution leverages advanced intent-based analytics…

CenturyLink Wavelength Services

CenturyLink® Wavelength service delivers dedicated bandwidth and the full network transparency your enterprise requires. Available in 1 GigE, 10 GigE or 100 GigE speeds — protected and unprotected — CenturyLink Wavelength service is the ideal choice for network backbones between…

Lenovo ThinkSystem Rackswitches

Lenovo ThinkSystem Rackswitches support SMB and larger enterprises with data center networking.

INAP Performance IP

INAP Performance IP® service is a data center networking solution. It aims to maximize the user's network’s potential by leveraging INAP's robust global network and proprietary route optimization engine. It enhances Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) by assessing the best-performing routes…

INAP Connectivity Solutions

The INAP Connectivity Solutions product suite provides high availability and scalable connectivity services across INAP's global network and into the customer's data centers. Combined with INAP's route-optimized IP service, the vendor promises to deliver a high-performance network…

Raritan Dominion KX Switches

Raritan offers a data center networking solution via its KVM-OVER-IP Switches, the Dominion KX series of switches for data centers, labs, and server rooms. Raritan is a Legrand company (acquired 2015).

Fujitsu 1FINITY T600

For campus, regional, metro and long-haul data center interconnect (DCI) applications, Fujitsu offers the 1FINITY T600 blade, which they state enables data center and cloud operators to deploy flexible, cost-effective optical connections.

Apollo Optical Systems (ECI TM1200)

Apollo Optical Systems, beginning with the ECI TM1200 launched in 2018, are a family of optical transport and switching platforms that aim to provide scalable, high-density and energy-efficient solutions from access to core. The vendor states Apollo enables service providers to deploy…

Arista 7500R and 7500R3 Series

The Arista 7500R3 Series is a family of high density Spine platforms with support for high density 400G and 100G Ethernet and internet scale tables. The Arista 7500R3 Series is an optimized platform with up to 230Tbps of performance for data center networks, DCI and universal spine,…

Huawei OSN902

The OSN902 from Huawei is a WDM transmission platform customized for Data Center Interconnect (DCI) applications. The vendor states its large transmission capacity, adaptation to installation conditions in DC equipment rooms, and simple management mode provide an optimal user experience…

Huawei OptiX OSN 9800 Series

Huawei's OptiX OSN 9800 U series includes the OptiX OSN 9800 U64, OptiX OSN 9800 U32, and central cluster chassis (CCC). This next-generation large-capacity OTN product series is intended for beyond 200G/400G. Huawei’s OptiX OSN 9800 is a next-generation high-capacity, intelligent,…

Infinera DTN-X XT Series Meshponders

Infinera's XT Series of compact, open, and disaggregated platforms are powered by Infinera’s fourth-generation Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4), and deliver up to 2.4T of line-side capacity for metro, regional, long-haul, and data center interconnect networks in compact 1RU and 4RU…

Learn More About Data Center Networking Equipment

What is Data Center Networking Equipment?

Data center networking equipment includes devices that connect computing and storage resources, enabling the delivery of shared computer applications and data.

Network equipment is required for communication and interaction between hardware on a computer network. Networking equipment combines, splits, switches, boosts, or directs packets of information across a computer or telecommunications network.

Networking equipment supports different protocols to allow a variety of devices to communicate. Network protocols are a set of rules, conventions, and data structures that dictate how devices exchange data across networks. Protocols allow devices to understand the electronic signals they send and receive while communicating over network connections.

Data center networking equipment include:

NIC – Network interface card also known as a network adapter card, an Ethernet card, or a LAN (Local Area Network) card, allow networking devices to communicate with other networked devices.

Switches - Connect devices on a network to send and receive data. They use MAC (Media Access Control) addresses (unique identifiers) to send data packets to destination ports.

Routers – Connect different networks and receive, analyze, and forward data packets. They connect different network segments, different network protocols, connect smaller networks into a large network, break large networks into smaller ones, and connect different network architectures, and media types. Central routers are the high-speed backbone of a network with the ability to support many LANs. Routers can also be local, remote, internal, external, and peripheral. Router types include wireless, broadband, core, edge, and brouters (bridge routers).

Gateways – Nodes that connect networks, including those operating with different transmission protocols, act as a protocol converter providing compatibility between the different protocols. They forward data packets from a local network to a remote network. They can be unidirectional or bidirectional. Types of gateways include traditional network gateways, cloud storage gateways, email gateways, internet to orbit (satellite) gateways, IoT gateways, and VoIP gateways.

Multiplexers - Combine multiple signals into one output signal.

Repeaters – Amplify and retransmit signals to ensure signals are transmitted clearly throughout the network. They can be digital or analog, wired or wireless, local, or remote.

Firewalls – Safeguard a network against unauthorized access.

Transceivers – Connect nodes and send and receive both analog and digital signals. This functionality is built into network cards but is also available as a physical device. They can convert electrical signals to optical signals and vice versa.

Bridges –Break down larger networks into smaller segments, connect different media types, and network architectures.

Hubs - Connect multiple devices in a single LAN. Hubs can be passive, active (providing repeater functionality), or intelligent (supporting network management functions) and are primarily used in older networks.

Data Center Networking Equipment Features

Data center networking equipment includes these features:

  • Connect multiple computers in a network
  • Connect network devices to send and receive data
  • Connect different networks
  • Connect networks with different transmission protocols
  • Combine multiple signals into one output signal
  • Amplify and retransmit signals to ensure clear signal transmission throughout a network
  • Convert electrical signals to optical signals and vice versa
  • Safeguard networks against unauthorized access

Data Center Networking Equipment Comparison

Consider the following when purchasing data center networking equipment:

New vs. Refurbished Equipment: Budget-conscious businesses may wish to consider purchasing refurbished data center networking equipment, which offers reduced costs, warranties, and easy access to replacements.

Short Term vs. Long Term Goals: In addition to meeting your current requirements, evaluate where you expect your business to be over the next five to ten years. The products you select should have a clear upgrade path to enable longer-term goals.

Public Cloud-based Service Options: Depending on your goals and IT strategy, a move to the cloud could eliminate the need for any networking equipment.

Pricing Information

Pricing for data center networking equipment depends on the scale of resources. Switches start at a few hundred dollars and go over $10,000. Small business routers range from several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Enterprise routers can run over $50,000. Hardware firewalls for small businesses usually range from $1,500 to $4,000. Enterprise-level firewalls range from $25,000 to over $50,000. Free demos and trials are available.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does data center networking equipment do?

Data center networking equipment includes routers, switches, and firewalls that are used to securely communicate between devices on computer networks.

What are the benefits of using data center networking equipment?

Data center networking equipment connects computing and storage resources to enable the sharing of computer applications and data.

How much does data center networking equipment cost?

Depending on the size of your business and networks, prices for routers, switches, and firewalls can range from a few hundred dollars to over $50,000. Free demos and trials are available.