Our most recent episode of Size Matters Tech is about networking on a budget. It's a technical episode where each of the hosts picks a free or free-ish solution for a part of the network.
Shane Weinbrecht started off talking about Untangle, which is a Firewall option for personaly use or for an SMB. They do have paid features to enhance the firewall, but it's a pretty snazzy solution for those needing security on a budget.
We then moved on to VPN, where I suggested OpenVPN as a solution. OpenVPN is easily deployed and after initial configuration can be quite easy to use. It's also compatible with Windows, Macs, Linux, and some smart phones.
Jonathan Frappier then told us about HP 4204vl-48GS switches which can handle both layer 2 and layer 3 configurations.Though not free, they are certainly an inexpensive choice that will allow you to do some real networking.