The role of the network has changed from a data-only network, to a system that enables the connections of people, devices, and information in a media rich, converged network environment. In order for networks to function efficiently and grow in this type of environment, the network must be built upon a standard network architecture.

The network architecture refers to the devices, connections, and products that are integrated to support the necessary technologies and applications. A well-planned network technology architecture helps ensure the connection of any device across any combination of networks. While ensuring connectivity, it also increases cost efficiency by integrating network security and management, and improves business processes. At the foundation of all network architectures, and in fact, at the foundation of the Internet itself, are routers and switches. Routers and switches transport data, voice, and video communications, as well as allow for wireless access, and provide for security.

Building networks that support our needs of today and the needs and trends of the future starts with a clear understanding of the underlying switching and routing infrastructure. After a basic routing and switching network infrastructure is built, individuals, small businesses, and organizations can grow their network over time, adding features and functionality in an integrated solution.