What is Network Switch?
When it comes to developing a solid understanding of networking, routers and switches are the two most important networking devices that help in the smooth and seamless working of a network system.
network switches are typically used to attach and interconnect multiple devices within a campus or building on the same network. By using a switch, you can easily connect printers, servers, and PCs together, thereby creating a strong and interconnected network of shared resources. Switches simply function as controllers. They control various devices plugged into them to communicate with each other and share information. With switches, resource allocation and information sharing are possible. They also help users save money & time and increase productivity significantly. Network switches are also known as bridging hubs, MAC bridge, and switching hub.
Types of Switches
There are 2 basic types of switches:
Unmanaged switches do not allow users to make changes in it. In other words, they don’t give you the power to control and configure. An unmanaged network switch basically allows Ethernet networking devices to interconnect and communicate with each other like those plug & play devices. Unmanaged switches come with a fixed configuration, therefore users can’t modify them.
While managed switches give excellent control to users over the LAN traffic. It offers innovative features to control the LAN traffic. Similar to unmanaged switches that enable you to connect and create a communication network between devices, managed switches also do that and a lot more. With managed switches, users have the ability and power to manage, monitor, and configure LAN giving users excellent control over how your data moves and transfers over the network. Additionally, you also get the power to authorize people who can access the data.
Managed networking switches use protocols like SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) for device monitoring on the network. SNMP facilitates the smooth and secure exchange of management information between devices on the network. Its queries are used to identify and determine the network’s health and device status. This data helps IT managers located at a central site to monitor network performance and both quickly locate problems and repair them easily.
Middle to large-sized LANs has several linked managed switches. Though managed switches are slightly more expensive as compared to unmanaged switches, a managed switch offers good value for its price. It comes with more features like virtual LANs, port mirroring, redundancy, and excellent service quality. Quality of service enables users to prioritize your network traffic as you can assign a high priority to critical traffic. This is crucial to ensure consistent and proper network performance. Besides, it can also support delay sensitive data, for example, real-time voice.
While redundancy provides the network safeguarding facility in case a cable or connection fails. This is done by providing alternate traffic or data path while port mirroring helps diagnose networking problems.
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