Many business owners often ask us, what’s the difference between a managed vs unmanaged switch? For this reason, we decided to dedicate this article to help shed some light on subject. When you’re setting up a business network, knowing the difference between the types of switches in networking can make all the difference in your network speed and configuration. First let us say, network switches perform an important role in a network. And, without them building business networks would not be possible.
That’s because they connect multiple devices, like computers, wireless access points, printers, and servers; on the same network enabling them share information and talk to each other. Put simply, a network switch is a device that connects multiple devices together. There are two classifications of network switches: managed and unmanaged. The first and most common type of network switch (ethernet switch) is the unmanaged switch (more on unmanaged switches below).
An unmanaged switch operates at layer 2 (data-link layer) of the OSI model, using MAC addresses to forward data packets to the intended client device. The intent of this type of network switch is ease of use in that you simply plug-and-play there nothing to setup and there is no need for any further configuration. But, this also means, less control over your network. Typically this type of network switch is for basic connectivity. So, if you are building a home network and only need a few more ports, chances are an unmanaged switch is all you need. However, when it comes to a business, a managed switch is always the way to go (more on managed switches below).
For businesses, adding a managed switch will allow you to configure your network in a faster and more convenient way. Or put simply, it gives you control over the traffic accessing your network. This means, you can tweak devices for optimal data rate as new devices and users are added to the network through commands such as bandwidth rate limiting and port mirroring. This type of switch gives you greater security, more features and flexibility because you can configure them to fit your needs.
And, it is with this greater control that you can better protect your network while also improving the quality of service for anyone who has access to it. Aside from this, a managed switch allows you to access the switch remotely if you need to make adjustments without having to be in the same physical location as the switch. In a nutshell, a managed switch gives you the freedom to create a network that runs at peak efficiency customized to the specifications of the unique devices on it.
Managed vs Unmanaged Switch: Okay So What’s The Difference?
Pakedge MS Series Layer 3 Managed Network Switch
This is a managed switch.
The Main Difference Between Managed & Unmanaged Switches
The main difference is that a managed switch allows LAN traffic to be controlled and prioritized through configuration changes whereas an unmanaged switch comes with a standard configuration that cannot be changed.
Open to configuration
Requires skills to set up and maintain (Shultz AV)
Plug and play
Spanning Tree Protocol support, QoS, bandwidth rate limiting and port mirroring.