What is Managed Switch : Working & Its Applications

An Ethernet switch or network switch works like a brain while designing a network. There are different types of networking devices available in networking where network switch is one kind of networking hardware among them. This switch simply connects different network devices together on a Local Area Network or LAN to forward and redirect data to the right destination. Network or Ethernet switches are available in two types managed switch and unmanaged switch which is available in different sizes and ports. So this article discusses one of the types of network switch namely managed switch – working with applications.

What is Managed Switch?

A switch that allows Ethernet devices to interact with each other like a network printer, or PC, & provides some features to allow the administrator to manage, monitor, or configure on a LAN is known as a managed switch. This kind of switch gives more control to administrators on how data moves on the network & who can contact it.

Managed Switch
Managed Switch

By using this switch, superior connectivity can be attained for building & managing Ethernet networks. So these switches offer greater functionality & high quality of service as compared to unmanaged switches.

How Does Managed Switch Work?

Managed switches allow users to change every port on the switch to any setting, by allowing them to configure, monitor & manage the network in different ways.

Generally, these switches use SNMP protocol (Simple Network Management Protocol), which allows administrators to observe the conditions of the network switch as well as separate switch ports to provide different statistics like network errors, port status, traffic throughput, etc. So that network administrators can track this information eventually & utilize this information for both network capacity & troubleshooting purposes.

The configuration of these switch ports can be done like trunks, which means a procedure that labels data frames through a VLAN ID & transfers various VLAN frames across a particular link. Generally, these ports are useful in connecting two switches as one otherwise to connect a network switch to a VM server that needs the right of entry to many VLANs.


Network administrators can also combine many ports virtually to make port-combined links that transfer double times of a single link speed.

Finally, these switches generally include a remotely accessible console-like web interface or command line for allowing network administrators to create design changes from various physical locations.

Managed Switch Vs Router

The difference between managed switch and a router includes the following.

Managed Switch


This is one kind of network switch. This is one kind of network device.
In the OSI model, this switch works at the data link layer or layer-2. In the OSI model, this device works at the network layer or layer-3.
This switch stores the MAC address within a lookup table (LUT) It stores the IP addresses within the routing table.
It has only one broadcast domain. Every port in the router includes its own broadcast domain.
These are limited to wired network connections. These can function in both wireless & wired network conditions.
It doesn’t offer any services like a router. The router offers NetFlow, QoS & NAT services.
The switch works faster in a LAN network as compared to Router. In a MAN or VAN network, the router works very fast.
The address used by this switch is MAC. The address used by this router is IP.
It includes much more ports like 12, 24, 46, 48, etc. It includes simply LAN ports – 4 & WAN port-1.

Difference between Managed and Unmanaged Switch

The difference between managed and unmanaged switch include the following.

Managed Switch

Unmanaged Switch

These switches provide flexibility to the administrator of the network. This switch works as a plug & play switch.
It provides a wide range of features. It provides only a basic set of features.
It is very expensive. It is not expensive.
This switch allows the operator to configure, monitor, and manage. This switch has a fixed configuration.
It uses SNMP to monitor performance. It uses in-built QoS services to monitor performance.
These switches are applicable for enterprise-sized businesses with a larger network. These switches are applicable for small businesses, single offices, homes, etc.


The characteristics of the managed switch include the following.

  • These switches are installed in a wider range of topologies like a ring, spanning tree protocol, mesh, aggregation & stacking which allows for reliability & greater redundancy.
  • These are capable of optimizing device performance & applications on the network using QoS (quality-of-service) features that assist in arranging traffic & group types of devices that utilize common services.
  • Troubleshooting & managing large networks is simple through SDN (software-defined network) management, remote management, entrée to telemetry data showing traffic flow & even electric power supplying to endpoint devices.
  • Many safety features for controlling who is contacting the network, checking for attacks, and helping in repairing when any breakings occur.

Managed Switch Configuration

The managed switch configuration is done by administrators to handle the traffic of the network differently. Monitoring protocols like NetFlow, SNMP & other telemetry data of the network are used to access configurations remotely & to monitor devices.

Managed switches also need a minimum of one or more network operators to understand network configuration, monitoring concepts & how to apply monitoring concepts to a switch configuration. Generally, these switches contain a remotely accessible console or web interface for enabling administrators to make changes or adjustments within configuration from various physical locations.

Features of a Managed Switch:

The following features make it easy for administrators to manage their networks:

Gigabit Ethernet ports: A gigabit Ethernet port provides 1 gigabit (1,000 Mbps) of data transfer speed, which is about ten times faster than a 100 BPS modem but still slower than 10-gigabit Ethernet.

Power over Ethernet (PoE): PoE allows you to power your switches using an Ethernet cable instead of having to connect them directly to an electrical outlet or power strip. This makes it easier and more cost-effective  to install the network equipment wherever it is needed  without having to worry about running electricity or installing an outlet near the equipment.

Port mirroring: Port mirroring allows one to copy all incoming or outgoing packets from one port onto another port so that they can be inspected by someone monitoring traffic on both ports without disrupting normal network.

High-speed data transfer capabilities – Managed switches offer fast connection speeds for transferring large files quickly and easily. They also come with multiple ports that allow several devices to connect at once without slowing down performance or disrupting other users on your network. This makes them ideal for setting up home offices or small business offices where multiple people work together on projects at once.

Security – Managed switches have firewalls built into their firmware that protect against viruses and malware attacks, ensuring that the network is safe.

What are Layer 2 Switches ?

Managed switches are often referred to as Layer 2 switches or layer 2/3 switches. These terms describe what type of technology is used in the switch itself: Layer 2 means that all traffic is transmitted using MAC addresses; Layer 3 means that all traffic is transmitted using IP addresses.

Advantages & Disadvantages

The advantages of the managed switch include the following.

  • Reducing network downtime.
  • Cutting operational expenses.
  • Security can be increased.
  • These switches provide wide management functionality to a LAN like QoS, SNMP, RSTP & VLANs
  • This switch allows you to handle, arrange & check the LAN settings.
  • This switch is helpful in controlling the communication that supplies throughout a network.
  • These switches have some main safety benefits like they are capable of monitoring and controlling the network to shut down dynamic threats.
  • This switch allows you to arrange the network to your requirement.
  • By network administrator, it gives remote control & adjustment.
  • Appropriate for medium & large business systems.

The disadvantages of the managed switch include the following.

  • These switches are costly.
  • Setup procedures are complicated.
  • It needs the assistance of an IT expert.
  • These types of switches cannot segment the traffic of the network.
  • These switches cannot prioritize network traffic.
  • These switches have higher downtime.
  • Open ports on these switches are a safety risk.
  • They do not provide a way to check network traffic
  • They do not include any advanced features required for large or small networks.
  • They do not contain any management options on the network for IoT devices.


The applications of the managed switch include the following.

  • This switch is used for configuring, monitoring, and managing LAN settings by allowing an administrator like LAN traffic control, prioritizing particular channels & making new effective LANs to maintain minor groups of devices separated & manage their traffic bitterly.
  • These switches are helpful in providing redundancy features that copy & recover data when a network or a device fails.
  • These switches include port safety with the capacity to disable ports & avoid illegal access.
  • These switches simply incorporate numerous IoT devices into a home network without threatening network or device performance.
  • By using this switch, the operations of the device can be controlled.
  • These switches include Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) feature. During high traffic on your network, the LACP protocol allows effective data load distribution by adding bandwidth through a combined physical link.
  • These switches provided protection to the smart home from cyber attacks. So, Access Control List or ACL feature simply blocks illegal entrée, so protecting the data & your home network activities.
  • The VLAN feature in this switch assists in the network traffic distribution.
  • The RSTP protocol in this switch will reduce the downtime of any system by offering other paths for the traffic of data.

Thus, this is all about a type of network switch – a managed switch that is used to connect different devices on a single LAN like storage devices, printers, and computers to filter the data & transmit it to the correct destination. This switch also allows the operators to arrange the switch to optimize network traffic management. Here is a question for you, what is a network device?