We wanted to "go for the gusto" and use a Layer 3 managed switch, but the prices were just too high. After examining all of the possibilities, we opted for a 48-port 3Com 3C16476 switch that offered us two Gigabit over copper Ethernet ports in addition to the 48 10/100Mbit ports. While we could have used a switch that offered fewer ports, we tried to take into account any future expandability, and we found that the 3C16476 offered a good balance of performance and expandability for our design.
Of course, the 3C16476 was rack mountable, which was a requirement. Doug suggested placing the shelf just above the switch to help stop dust from entering the ports by taking advantage of the shelf's overhang.
3Com 3C16476 48 port 10/100 switch with dual gigabit Ethernet uplink
On the shelf above the switch is the FR314 firewall with stateful packet inspection. Although Netgear is no longer selling the FR314, the FR314 features a subset of the SonicWall SOHO2's capabilities at a more attractive price point. While anyone who wants serious firewall capabilities would like the SonicWall products, the FR314 offers a good feature set beyond what is found in other products, which makes it one of the most sought-after firewall devices.
We like its content filtering and emailed reports, which are more than what most devices offer. While Netgear does not provide as many firmware updates and upgrades as I would like, it is still a solid product that you can find on Ebay periodically.
Switch and LAN gear
Also on the shelf is the cable modem and a Quantum 1100/40 SNAP server. Beyond that, we also chose to use a Geist rack mounted surge protector for its colorful addition. With the additional room in the rack, my plan is to add a small 4U server as well as a rack mount UPS for this server, as well.