If you have ever wondered how people create Local Area Network or LAN for short, it’s simple, they use Switches. An Ethernet switch is often called a bridging device because it is a bridge between many devices that use Ethernet.
What Is an Ethernet Switch?
As its name suggests, an Ethernet switch uses packets switching for this purpose. That means that it will switch packets from one device to another using the Ethernet ports.
You might think, will a hub not do the same thing? Well, an Ethernet hub also shared bandwidth. This means that you will not be able to get good bandwidth on one device if another is using all of it. Also, there are also chances of a collision.
In networking terms, it means that if two devices are sending data simultaneously, the data they transmit collides. Which causes the network to discard that data instead. This causes packets to be wasted, also data to be lost.
With an Ethernet switch, there is no packet loss due to collisions, it also means that bandwidth is much more stable. So if you are considering what to buy between a hub and a switch, hubs are old technology. No one uses them anymore for Ethernet purposes at least. Get a switch, you will make your life so much easier that way.
So next time if someone tries to confuse an Ethernet switch with a hub, you know they are not the same thing. These days, you can get Ethernet switches in a variety of speeds. There is fast Ethernet, which can go up to 10/100 MBPS. The most used these are Gigabit switches, which have speeds of 10/100/1000 MBPS. Then lastly 10GbE switches have 10/100/1000/10000 MBPS speeds.
You can also find higher speed switches, like 25G, 50G, and even 100G that you can choose from. But they can be pretty expensive and you probably won’t need to use them.
Uses of an Ethernet Switch
When it comes to its uses, an Ethernet switch is used to create a LAN. When you have a work environment that uses computers to fulfill their daily tasks, you need to stay connected. An employee needs a direct line of contact with the boss as well as other employees.
An Ethernet switch is used to chain all these computers together. So when you send a message to someone, all of the employees will not receive it. Only the person who you sent message to will do so. The reason behind this is that a switch uses MAC addresses to distinguish between devices and every device has a different one.
There is also the instance of managed networks, which allows you to monitor and control the network. This gives you more power over who can see what on the network. You can also create VLANs or virtual local area networks. These are sub-networks under one LAN that creates a separate space for people in it.
So, for instance, you have employees working on different projects. With the help of an IT technician or someone who is an expert on networking can create a subspace for people working on each project separately. This way you have a more organized exchange of information between devices.
You can also restrict what device can access what data on the server. So if you have data on a server, which is for people in the supervisor and above positions, you can restrict it for lower-tier employees. A managed switch can do much more depending on your usage and the expertise of the IT technician.