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What is the difference between a Smart, Managed and Un-Managed Switch?

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#1 Cyran


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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:20 AM

I have been trying to learn how to be a better IT technician and I just cant seem to figure out what the main differences between these switches are.


I know that they come with some different featers, such as, VLANs, Port Mirroring, and some other things. But what would make me want to chose one over the other in a business or home inviornment?

Edited by Cyran, 12 June 2015 - 09:21 AM.

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#2 YeahBleeping


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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:31 AM

Excerpt Taken from Network switch wiki:


Configuration options
  • Unmanaged switches – these switches have no configuration interface or options. They are plug and play. They are typically the least expensive switches, and therefore often used in a small office/home office environment. Unmanaged switches can be desktop or rack mounted.
  • Managed switches – these switches have one or more methods to modify the operation of the switch. Common management methods include: a command-line interface (CLI) accessed via serial console, telnet or Secure Shell, an embedded Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) agent allowing management from a remote console or management station, or a web interface for management from a web browser. Examples of configuration changes that one can do from a managed switch include: enabling features such as Spanning Tree Protocol or port mirroring, setting port bandwidth, creating or modifying virtual LANs (VLANs), etc. Two sub-classes of managed switches are marketed today:
    • Smart (or intelligent) switches – these are managed switches with a limited set of management features. Likewise "web-managed" switches are switches which fall into a market niche between unmanaged and managed. For a price much lower than a fully managed switch they provide a web interface (and usually no CLI access) and allow configuration of basic settings, such as VLANs, port-bandwidth and duplex.[17]
    • Enterprise managed (or fully managed) switches – these have a full set of management features, including CLI, SNMP agent, and web interface. They may have additional features to manipulate configurations, such as the ability to display, modify, backup and restore configurations. Compared with smart switches, enterprise switches have more features that can be customized or optimized, and are generally more expensive than smart switches. Enterprise switches are typically found in networks with larger number of switches and connections, where centralized management is a significant savings in administrative time and effort. A stackable switch is a version of enterprise-managed switch.
Typical switch management features
Linksys 48-port switch
HP Procurve rack-mounted switches mounted in a standard telco rack 19-inch rack with network cables

#3 Cyran

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 10:11 AM

Thank you very much, this was very informative and I greatly appreciate it.

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