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Managed switches, Optical switches, and Layer 3 switches

By: Jonathan Baracat

What are switches

Network switches and routers are devices that provide the backbone we know as the internet. Switches are networking devices that create networks,pon the other hand, router are the devices that connect those networks together.

In order to be able to understand how networks work, it isnecessary to first understand what a switch is, the different types of switches, as well as the functions of these switches. Most business networks today use switches to connect computers, printers, phones, servers, as well as many other devices that use ethernet. In simple terms, a switch serves as the controller that enables network devices to talk to each other in an efficient manner.


Managed switches vs Unmanaged switches

Unmanaged switches are designed so that users can simply get them out of the box, plug them in, and start using them with no configuration required (this is known as plug-and-play.) Therefore, this kind of switch is used for very basic connectivity. You'll often see this kind of device inside of a SOHO network where a HUB would be sufficient but an unmanaged switch is used in order to increase efficiency. Managed switches are more complex and expensive in exchange for greater security, more flexibility, and more feautres.They can be configured to custom-fit a network, administrators are able to protect nd improve the quality of service for users.

Optical switches

Another important kind of switch in today's network is the optical switch. An optical switch is a device used to open or close an opticala circuit. Optical switches are key components in fiber optic neeworks that allow transfer of data at extrenely high speeds. It is generally used for a variety of applications such as provisioning of light paths, protection switching, and as the element that allow high speed packet switching networka.

Layer Switches

Another new kind of switch that has emerged in the last few years is the Layer switch. As we previously stated, most switches which are known as "Layer 2" switches that operate strictly on the Data Link Layer of the OSI model. However, this new technology allows switches to operate at the Network Layer. Because routers make their forwarding decision based on CPU calculations, they are much slower than switches. This may become a problem in a network with big amounts of VLAN traffic, as router is needed by the switch when dealing with this traffic.