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What Is a Network Switch

Switches create a network. Routers connect networks. The two pieces of equipment look similar and perform some similar functions, but each has its own distinct function to perform on a network.

What is a network switch?

To understand basic networking, you first need an answer to the question, What is a network switch?

Most business networks today use switches to connect computers, printers, phones, cameras, lights, and servers in a building or campus.

A switch serves as a controller, enabling networked devices to talk to each other efficiently. Through information sharing and resource allocation, switches save businesses money and increase employee productivity.

Next, understand the different types of Ethernet switches and their capabilities.

Unmanaged switches

An unmanaged switch works right out of the box. It's not designed to be configured, so you don't have to worry about installing or setting it up correctly. Unmanaged switches have fewer features and less network capacity than managed switches. You'll usually find unmanaged switches in home networking equipment.


Managed switches

A managed network switch is configurable, offering greater security, flexibility, and capacity than an unmanaged switch. You can monitor and adjust a managed switch locally or remotely, to give you greater network control.


 

What is a network switch to my business?

Switches and routers are the building blocks for all business communications, from data to voice and video to wireless access.

They can improve profitability by helping your company increase productivity, trim business expenses, and improve security and customer service.