How does a network switch work? How does it compare to a hub or router? The following is a brief overview that explains the differences between these essential pieces of network hardware.

How Does a Network Switch Work?: The Basics

How does a network switch in conjunction with other hardware? For starters, switches are a key component of many business networks. They connect multiple PCs, printers, servers and other hardware. Switches allow you to send information, such as email, and access shared resources, including printers, in a smooth, efficient, and transparent manner.

How Does a Network Switch Work?: Unmanaged Switches

An unmanaged network switch works right out of the box. But it's not designed to be configured. Usually, you'll find unmanaged switches in home networking equipment.

How Does a Network Switch Work?: Managed Switches

A managed switch gives you greater flexibility because it can be configured. For example, you can monitor a managed network switch and adjust it locally or remotely. This gives you control over network traffic and who has access to the network.

How Does a Network Switch Work as Compared to a Hub?

In the most basic networks, devices are connected with hubs. But there's a limit to the amount of bandwidth users can share on a hub-based network. The amount of time data takes to get to its destination increases on hub networks as more devices are added. A switch avoids these and other limitations of hub networks.

How Does a Network Switch Work as Compared to a Router?

Just as switches allow different devices on a network to communicate, routers allow different networks to communicate. A router also connects networked computers to the Internet, allowing multiple users to share a connection. And a router acts as a dispatcher. It chooses the best route for information to travel, so that it's transmitted as efficiently as possible.

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