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In my previous post, we walked through the basics of what a network is, and how one could benefit your nonprofit. Now, let's get into hardware you'll need.
There's a lot of donated networking
hardware available at TechSoup. You can wirelessly connect desktops, laptops,
and printers to your network with hardware from the Brocade
Donation Program or develop your nonprofit's wired and wireless
network with hardware from the Cisco Donation Program.
offer donated access points, switches, controllers, routers, and a number of other
benefits to your nonprofit, library, or foundation.
With a secure wireless network, you
can let your staff work and meet anywhere in the office, or even remotely with
a virtual private network (VPN). Plus, you can grant wireless network access to
your guests, constituents, and patrons and take advantage of real-time web
conferencing tools without slowing down your Internet speed.
Also: network hardware, like a
controller, can help address Wi-Fi overload in high-use environments, like conference
rooms, auditoriums, classrooms, and lobbies.
When large numbers of devices try
to simultaneously access your Wi-Fi, a controller monitors each session over
the network, and adjusts the network as needed to keep it running smoothly.
Cisco 2960-S Series 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch
A Catalyst 2960-S Series fixed-configuration switch offering 10/100/1000 Ethernet connectivity with enhanced LAN services for midsize and branch office networks.
Brocade 7131 Series Access Points
Feature 802.11a/b/g/n wireless standards, speeds of up to 300 Mbits/second, and connect up to 256 clients. They can be used on their own, or as part of a Brocade wireless controller system. For more information, see the Mobility Series 7131 datasheet.
These controllers work with Brocade wireless access points. They are ideal for developing networks for large offices, datacenters, campuses, and other enterprise-level deployments.
These controllers also help manage your network traffic, and include secure firewalls and VPN gateways. For more information, see the Mobility RFS7000 datasheet.
While we're on the subject, TechSoup
offers a few new and refurbished printers that are all network-compatible:
HP Officejet 4500 Multifunction Printer (admin fee: $95)
A new multifunction scanner/copier/fax machine/inkjet printer (color and black and white ink cartridges are included). A good choice for smaller offices, it can print up to 3,000 pages per month and be used on a network.
Plus, check out these high-capacity printers, good options for offices with larger printing volumes:
For more help building a wireless
network at your organization, check out:
Have a question? Ask it in
our community forums where you can
get advice from fellow nonprofits. We should note: setting up a wireless network
can be tricky. If you don't have someone on staff with networking experience,
hiring a consultant is something you should consider.
Check out the rest of my short series on networks:
Patrick Duggan | TechSoup Digital Marketing Manager
Just a wealth of information and the things we need to know in order to make the right decision first.