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Switches are a key component of many business networks, as they connect multiple PCs, printers, access points, phones, lights, servers, and other hardware. Switches allow you to send and receive information (such as email) and access shared resources in a smooth, efficient, highly secure, and transparent manner.

What is an unmanaged switch?

An unmanaged network switch is designed so that you can simply plug them in and they work, no configuration required. Unmanaged switches are typically for basic connectivity. You'll often see them used in home networks or wherever a few more ports are needed, such as at your desk, in a lab, or in a conference room.

What is a managed switch?

Managed switches give you greater security and more features and flexibility because you can configure them to custom-fit your network. With this greater control, you can better protect your network and improve the quality of service for those who access 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 more devices are added to the network, the longer it takes data to reach its destination. A switch avoids these and other limitations of hub networks.

How does a network switch work as compared to a router?

Switches allow different devices on a network to communicate. Routers allow different networks to communicate.

A router also connects networked computers to the Internet, so multiple users can 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.

Not sure which networking device you need? Talk to a local Cisco reseller who understands your specific requirements. Your reseller can design, install, and help you maintain your network. You'll get a secure, reliable, affordable network backed by Cisco and customized to meet your needs today, giving you a clear path to tomorrow.

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