We need a communicator to connect different electronic devices (Node) together for easier communication. Routers and Switches are used to expand and manage the network.
The network switch is one of the most important parts of the network. In this article, we will define the switch and examine its use in the network.
At first, we must know what Switch is?
Switches are hardware or software that have the task of using mac address and network to send a frame or packet of data to other devices connected to that network in the second layer (Data link) which work based on the OSI model.
Switches can create networks, but routers are needed to connect and communicate between networks. Routers choose paths to pass through networks to reach the destination of frames and data packets. So, the switch is the common point of connecting all the devices and equipment of a network, and the router is the place where the networks are connected.
For example, if you want to connect your PC and printer to a home network, you need a switch, but you must use a router to connect this network to the Internet.
Before buying a switch, there are some points to keep in mind to make the best choice with the least cost and complexity.
Get ones that have no restrictions on connecting to your equipment.
If the network needs to be expanded in the future, consider this issue.
These questions are influential in your choice. By asking these questions, we will help you make the best choice. Use this guide
If the number of users is up to 50 it is enough to buy a switch device for the network. The number of ports should always be more than the current needs of the company so that you don’t run out of ports when expanding the network.
The number of devices that must be connected to the switch in the network, such as servers, are other factors that determine the number of ports required by the network.
If the speed is more important to the network users than the amount of data transfer, then choose megabyte switches, but if the amount of data transfer is the priority, then gigabyte switches will be the right choice.
For companies with a high number of users, speed is one of the most important factors. When buying a switch, make sure to get high-speed switches because they have a direct impact on the potential and efficiency of the network.
If physical issues are important to you, you should pay attention to the fact that switches with more ports have larger dimensions. Different companies and brands have offered switches with the same features and functionality but in different sizes.
The switch ports are either fiber optic or copper or a combination of both, which can be chosen according to the company’s infrastructure and our needs.
These are 10 types that the first 5 options are hardware, and the rest are software.
1 – Fixed SW:
The fixed switch has a fixed number of ports, for example, 8 ports, 16 ports, 24 ports, etc. These switches can be both administrative and non-administrative and are used for all networks of any size, for example home networks, organizational and large networks, offices, medium and small companies and startups.
The minimum speed provided by these switches is 1 Gbps but you can see speeds like 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps.
It is possible to connect several fixed switches together through optical fiber and cables such as CAT 6 and trunk.
2 – Modular SW:
Unlike fixed models, modular switches are usually supplied in large cases, and by adding each module, it is possible to add ports and add users. These switches are more expensive than fixed models and they are used in large networks such as data centers and large enterprise networks. Most of them also work in the third layer and can be used as a router.
3 – Stackable SW:
These switches are a combination of fixed and modular models that can be connected with a cable to work together as if we had a switch but with more ports. Companies that don’t want to pay a lot of money for modular switches use stackable switches and develop them based on their needs.
For example, Cisco 350X series switches can be used both independently and stacked.
4 – PoE SW:
PoE is the short form of Power over Ethernet and that means it works based on the PoE technology. It can transfer data, and also electricity to the network equipment through the Ethernet cable.
PoE switches are suitable for remote devices that do not have access to a power source, such as IP phones, remote Wi-Fi routers, wireless access points, etc.
5 – Fiber optic SW:
Most of the network switches work with RJ45 port and ordinary Ethernet cable such as Cat 5, Cat 6 and Cat 7, but if you need a connection for long distances, for example more than 100 meters, where ordinary Ethernet cable is not enough, you should use fiber optic cable.
Which show fiber optic ports with SFP.
6 – Unmanaged SW:
Unmanaged switches are often used in home networks and small companies because they start working immediately after installation, that is, it is Plug and Play. With unmanaged switches, you can easily connect Ethernet devices together, for example, we connect PCs and printers under the network and Wi-Fi routers.
Unmanaged switches allow Ethernet devices to communicate with other devices automatically.
One of the best unmanaged Cisco switches is Cisco SG112-24 Compact 24-Port Gigabit Switch, which has low power consumption and can be installed in a rack. This 24-port Cisco switch, like other Cisco 110 series unmanaged switches, is suitable for bandwidth-based video services.
7 – Managed SW:
Suppose we need to control the LAN traffic or how it works on mac address table then we need a switch that gives us this capability.
If you need to control the traffic behavior in the LAN or if you use advanced services such as wireless LANs or IP Telephony, it is recommended to use a managed switch. What is certain is that because management switches have more features, they also have a higher price. If the answer to any of the following questions is positive, a management switch is suitable for you, and if your answer is negative to all of them, a Un management switch is enough for you.
Do you need VLANs?
Do you need to run 802.1x?
Do you need to SNMP poll your switch?
Cisco 24-port model SG300-10MPP-K9-NA and 28-port model SG350-28-K9-NA are among the best management switches.
Yes, Managed switches have all the features of Unmanaged switches, but they also provide you with the ability to configure and manage and monitor the LAN.
8 – Smart SW:
Smart switch capabilities are something between management and un-management switches, that means smart switches have basic management capabilities and provide some security levels, but compared to management switches, they have an easier management interface and limited management capabilities. These switches have important features such as VLAN configuration, speed/duplex control, and SNMP.
9 – Layer-3 SW:
Switches usually work in the second layer of the OSI model, the Data Network layer, and its task is to transfer Ethernet frames from one port to another. But we have other advanced switches that route IP packets just like a network router. We call these switches layer 3 switches.
10 – Data center SW:
Datacenter switches have special features to provide very high performance and speed, more port capacity, security, QoS, etc. The best example of data center switches is the Cisco Nexus series switch. With these switches, virtualization and the concept of SDN – Software Defined Network can be easily implemented.
Campus LAN: This model is a suitable option for setting up a local network within the company. Among the well-known switches of this group are Access, Distribution, Core and compact switches, which are included in the group of commercial switches. This model starts with 8 ports and supports the switch stacking approach. Among Campus LAN switches, 2960, 3560, 3750, 3850, 4500, 6500, and 6800 should be mentioned.
Cloud-Managed: Cisco managed switches and hubs support Cisco Meraki technology and provide virtual stacking of switches. Cisco Meraki technology has intelligent functionality and can control and configure thousands of switch ports through the web, without the need for network engineers to intervene. The switches of this group are more suitable for organizations that are looking to implement software-oriented networks.
Data center: One of the important principles of data center implementation is scalability, the ability to upgrade infrastructure, maintain the continuous performance of business activities, and flexibility. Cisco data center switches are in the Cisco Nexus and Cisco Catalyst 6500 subgroups.
The Cisco Catalyst series switches are designed for enterprise networks and include different subcategories, each offering specific features.
Nexus switches are the new generation of Cisco data center switches whose architecture and operating system are different from traditional Catalyst switches and are designed for use in large networks and organizations that deal with a very large amount of data.
Notice that not all Nexus switches are modular, for example, Nexus 9000 and 9300 switches are classified in the “Fixed” group and 9500, 7000 and 7700 are classified in the “Modular” switch group.