What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch?

 

What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch?

  • A managed switch is a device that connects and facilitates communication between many devices on a computer network. A managed switch also includes features that enable administrators to configure, manage and monitor traffic on a Local Area Network (LAN).

  • An unmanaged switch also enables communication between devices, but has a fixed configuration that cannot be changed.

Many enterprise IT teams are seeking to improve network performance with the help of a managed switch, which provides more functionality and control than an unmanaged switch. But what is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch, and why would enterprises choose the additional features and cost of a managed switch over an unmanaged device? Here’s a short primer on “What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch?” that provides a brief overview.

What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch?

A switch is a networking technology that allows devices on a computer or Ethernet network to communicate with each other. A managed switch includes options that enable administrators to configure, manage and monitor a Local Area Network (LAN), providing more control over the network, how data travels over it and who may access it. An unmanaged switch also enables connectivity between devices, but does not include additional capabilities or controls.

What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch when it comes to performance?

A managed switch uses Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), enabling administrators to better monitor network status performance, identify potential problems and fix them without needing to physically access the switch. And unmanaged switch does not provide this capability.

What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch in terms of cost?

A managed switch costs more to purchase and maintain than an unmanaged switch, but provides capabilities such as redundancy, port mirroring and virtual LANs that help to justify the additional expense.

What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch for security?

A managed switch gives administrators more control over how sensitive information is routed across the network, while an unmanaged switch provides no additional security features.

What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch for ease-of-use?

As a plug-and-play device with a fixed configuration, and unmanaged switch is easier to install and use, though it will not provide any of the network management benefits of a managed switch.

What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch for Quality of Service (QoS)?

A managed switch enables administrators to prioritize traffic and bandwidth so that more critical data has priority. Consequently, administrators can ensure that data which is sensitive to delay – like voice packets for an audio conferencing application, for example – are given priority to ensure they are not delayed or dropped.

What is the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch with Spectrum Enterprise?

As a leader in fiber solutions for enterprises in many industries, Spectrum Enterprise provides high-capacity Ethernet solutions for Wide Area Network connectivity that include managed switch technology to support the needs of networks of any size and complexity.