Businesses increasingly rely on their network infrastructure to provide mission-critical services. As businesses grow and evolve, they hire more employees, open branch offices, and expand into global markets. These changes directly affect the requirements of a network. A large business environment with many users, locations, and systems is referred to as an enterprise. The network that is used to support the business enterprise is called an enterprise network.

Click the Play button in the figure to view an animation of a small network expanding into an enterprise network.

An enterprise network must support the exchange of various types of network traffic, including data files, email, IP telephony, and video applications for multiple business units. All enterprise networks must: