How to tell if a managed and unmanaged switch is better for you

Switches are boxes that connect other devices in a local area network (LAN) and use what is called packet switching to forward data to and from those connections. The easiest way to think of a switch is to watch a LAN event in which PCs or game consoles are connected to switches and hubs to connect to each other.

In this case, the PCs are connected through an Ethernet cable. The actual size of a switch can vary from a handful of ports up to 48 (or more). The switches can be used at home, in a small office or in a place where several machines must be connected. There are two basic types of switches, managed and unmanaged, and the best one for you depends on your requirements.

Managed Ethernet Switches


A managed switch is a device that can be properly configured and managed to offer a more personalized experience to those who will use the box. These not only offer tools and the means to monitor the network, but also control traffic. Managed switches are very similar to virtual private Servers, where you will be in charge of configuring everything, managing the device and taking responsibility for any configuration that causes downtime.

Managed switches can be managed through a compatible method, be it a command line interface (accessed through a secure shell, etc.), a web interface loaded in your web browser or the Protocol Simple network management (SNMP) for remote access. This access will unlock several options, including port speed, virtual LAN, redundancy, port duplication and quality of service (QoS) for traffic prioritization. All this means that you can prioritize traffic for specific ports: you are streaming 4K Netflix to your Xbox One, you will want maximum speed and bandwidth quality to the Xbox, the rest of your network will be accelerated to limit buffering. 19659002] When looking at managed switches, there are two types available. Smart switches have a limited number of configuration options and are more affordable than their fully managed siblings, ideal for home and office use. Fully managed solutions are aimed at servers and companies, offering a wide range of tools and features to better manage the immediate network.

Managed switches are designed for heavy workloads, large amounts of traffic and implementations where custom configurations are necessary. [19659010] Unmanaged Ethernet Switches

  D-Link Unmanaged Switch

When a managed switch requires, well, some administration in exchange for your network to function exactly as you wish , an unmanaged switch works with No contributions from you. These network devices will work in the most basic way, allowing their devices to connect to each other. The configuration is locked according to the OEM specification and gives consumers peace of mind to connect everything and get going.

Think of unmanaged switches as adding additional ethernet ports to your network. If you have a limited number of outputs available on routers and access points, the unmanaged switches are perfect for allowing additional hardware connection. Unmanaged switches are best suited for home and small office use.

tl; dr

A managed switch allows you to have more control over the network and especially the traffic that moves through the device. An unmanaged switch removes this control and handles everything automatically. The first is for advanced users, and the second is designed specifically for beginners and for those who simply want to build a network and let the technology monitor.

We have reviewed the basics when it comes to switches, both managed and unmanaged, but the route you travel on is entirely up to you. If you feel comfortable managing a LAN and configuring everything, then a managed switch is a powerful option. Those who wish to keep things simple at home should opt for an unmanaged solution.

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