What is a Network Switch and its Types

A network switch, also known as a bridging hub or switching hub, refers to the networking hardware that enables a seamless connection of devices on a computer network by utilizing the data packets or packet switching to and from these devices.

The network is often a local area network where the switch enables smooth data transmission. So, a network switch is a multiport network bridge that brilliantly uses MAC addresses for forwarding data by operating at the Data Link layer of the Open Systems Interconnection or OSI model.

What are the Types of Network Switches?

The common types of network switches are:

1. Unmanaged Switches

Unmanaged switches are plug-and-play devices requiring no particular installation beyond the regular ethernet cable. It majorly relies on auto-negotiation between the various Ethernet devices for maintaining communication. These affordable options are used in small networks and offer smooth data transference.

2. Fully Managed Switches

A managed switch is responsible for enabling the users to adjust ports to any setting as per preferences. It consists of features like managing, configuring, and monitoring traffic on LAN or Local Area Network. So, these switches offer more control over the accessibility as well as how the data chooses to travel over the network.

How do these switches differ from unmanaged switches? Managed switches differ from unmanaged ones in terms of features, performance, cost, security, and applications. Read managed vs. unmanaged network switches to know more.

3. Cloud Managed Switches

As the name suggests, cloud managed switches enable people to configure and monitor the switch ports remotely. It helps simplify the hassles of maintaining network switches as it doesn't require any physical connection between them. One can remotely configure them to control PoE, access devices, assign voice VLANs, etc.

4. Enterprise Grade Switches

Enterprise grade switches are the ones that help administrators and network operators to manage the devices connected to the network. It is just a single console that enables professionals to manage the connected switches and monitor them together while securing the points on the same network. Some of its features include management console, automation, analytics, monitoring, etc.

5. Data Center Switches

The data center switches refer to the high-performing switches which chiefly rely on virtualization and are extensively used in large enterprises. It is easily deployed throughout the data center and is highly functional in supporting high-bandwidth interconnections using the LAN and SAN Ethernet protocols. In addition, these come with extensive fault tolerance systems, known for delivering better uptime for mission-critical applications.

6. Smart Switches

As the name suggests, smart switches are intelligent and managed ones with limited options for seamless and hassle-free management. Moreover, it helps automate the functions while configuring the settings like VLANs and duplex modes. Therefore, these switches are excellent for networks that do not need multiple customizations.

7. Industrial Switches

Industrial switches, also known as industrial ethernet switches, are reliable and affordable for use in harsh environments. It is built to last and is certified against shocks, vibrations, etc. These can deliver electrical power and increase the data transmission capabilities to the connected network devices. In addition, its unique fanless design enables speedier heat dissipation.

8. Ethernet Switches

Ethernet switches are network hardware that acts as the central station, responsible for connecting the wired devices to the LAN. It is ideal for residential and commercial purposes. The presence of multiple switch ports helps in smooth connectivity along with reduced downtime and advanced network performance. Ethernet switches are essential for protecting the corporate network, allowing them to run the business without lagging.

Also Read: How does a Network Switch Work?

What are the Best Network Switches?

Before shortlisting the top network switches, it is essential to understand the key features and how these can benefit your business. While looking for the best brands for network switches, consider the following:

  • Speed
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports
  • QoS support
  • Virtual Chassis
  • Network security
  • Redundancy
  • Interoperability

Some of the top brands that fulfill all these essential criteria are:

If you want to connect with these brands or find the best network switches for business, connect with DC Gears. It offers an exclusive platform connecting enterprises with the leading brands providing data center solutions, cybersecurity and network security services. With a global presence in more than 40 countries, DC Gears also offers exceptional on-site professional expertise 24*7. Call to know more.