Understanding the Types of Switches in Networking

Understanding the Types of Switches in Networking

What is a network switch?

The network switch is used to connect several devices across the local area network (LAN) which sends the data packets through the internal port to the intended output ports. Network switches can operate at OSI layer 2 (data link layer) which helps to forward the data based on MAC address and layer 3 (network layer) forwards the data based on destination IP address.  However, layer 2 is usually connected to the devices through ethernet cables that can be plugged into ethernet ports. However, it is necessary to have an understanding of the Types of Switches in Networking to be able to make the right choice when it comes to making the right choice for your network. For more technical details and guidance, read our article about What is a network switch, and how does it work?

Types of Network Switches

There are different types of network switches suitable for networking that are compatible with different systems and fulfill the requirements for different businesses and household usage. These network switches enhance the connectivity of different systems, such as;

KVM Switches

KVM  switches are used to connect monitors, keyboards, videos, and mice. These switches are used to connect mice, monitors, and keyboards to several devices. KVM switches have the best interface for the single user interface that can control several computers from a single console, and these devices are programmed with keyboard hotkeys that let you manage and switch between the systems without any hassle. Also, KVM switches like SV211K StarTech 2 Port KVM Switch come with an extender that helps with extending the reach of the switch by a few hundred feet by transmitting VGA, HDMI, and DVI. Further, these switches help with managing and maintaining the servers.

Managed Switch

Managed Switches provide complete control of the traffic to the network administrators who can access the entire traffic followed by the access to customize and configure each Ethernet port which offers maximum efficiency over data transfers. Managed switches offer optimal data rates just as new devices are added to the network which commands like port mirroring and bandwidth rate limiting. Also, managed switches are best known to support the Gigabit standard of Ethernet. Moreover, many administrators also use managed switches when VLANs are concerned. Hence, managed switches consist of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) which helps the administrators to enhance the quality of service (QoS) followed by providing remote access to manage the switch without being in the same location.

Unmanaged Switch

Unmanaged switches are usually made as plug-and-play devices, which do not require much physical space for installation apart from the Ethernet cable. These switches are dependent on communication that is auto-negotiate between the Ethernet devices. further, the unmanaged switches automatically determine the required data rate and switch between half-duplex and full-duplex mode. Also, some unmanaged switches can be accessed remotely but many of these switches need to be operated by the admins to make any changes and set up. These switches are best for performing basic tasks efficiently, without any need for customization.

Smart Switch

A smart switch or also called an intelligent switch is the kind of managed switch that offers only a limited number of options to be managed which allows the functionality to configure certain settings such as duplex modes or VLANs rather than providing all the management functions. Therefore, if a network does not require all the aspects to be customized, then a smart switch is the best option to consider. These switches are affordable as compared to the other managed switches.

PoE Switch

PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches are used to distribute power to different devices across the network. Devices across the network from PCs to lighting systems and IP cameras are capable of functioning without the need to be near a router or AC access point as the PoE switch sends power and data to the connected devices. the PoE switch provides for both Ethernet and PoE enabled devices, whereas, the PoE injector further enhances the connectivity as it caters to both PoE and non-PoE switches which can help in providing access to create access points as required by the devices on the network that either transmits the necessary electricity or use Cat 5 cable to be able to function across the network.

Key Features to Consider

To find the right switch for your system, the following factors should be considered:

  • Speed: Every switch comes with different configurations that match the system requirements. For speed specifically, aspects like Gigabit Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Ten Gigabit, or others depend on the needs of the business.
  • Pricing: The prices of networking switches are based on their configuration and speed.
  • Power: To power your devices, PoE devices are the best choice as they provide network power and functionality.
  • Customization: If you need to customize the network to manage or prioritize the network traffic, then the managed switches are the best choice, however, to perform some basic customizations, smart switches are the best choice. And in case there are no customizations required, then unmanaged switches are your best bet!
  • Ports: The switches can have up to around 52 switches which are usually the best choice when larger networks are concerned. However, if you have only a few devices on the network then a few switches are sufficient.
  • Stackability: if the network is expected to expand, then stackable switches are the best choice for fast configuration. further, these switches can configure several switches as if they are one, minimizing the need for troubleshooting switches, individually.

 Networking Switches for better connectivity!

Are you looking for affordable solutions to improve that connectivity through extended networks? Servers4less.com brings you the best deals on network switches from top brands including  3 Com, IBM, Qlogic, Cisco, Linksys, and more. If you’re still confused about choosing the right network switch, do not hesitate to contact our network administrator who can help you to make the right selection.

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