Tech Primer: What is a Switch?

Tech Primer:  What is a Switch?

In today’s world, people rely heavily on technology for communication; computers and cells phones are everywhere. Behind the scenes, though, complex equipment and technologies are in place that allow for communication to occur. One such important piece of equipment is known as a switch.

A switch is a device that enables networked devices to talk to one another. It basically acts as a controller that channels incoming data from one or multiple devices that are connected to its ports, to a specific output port that takes the data towards its targeted destination.  These devices are very efficient and fast when it comes to moving data around a network. Computers, wireless access points, routers, firewalls, phones, video equipment, and other switches are just some of the devices that are typically connected to a switch. Switches are found on all networks – in private homes, in schools and colleges, at huge data centers, and at businesses, small or large. Switches can be very simple or complex, depending on the need, and are generally broken down into two types – unmanaged and managed.

Unmanaged switches work right out of the box where no configuration is needed. Simply power it up and plug the devices into its ports. Communication will be immediate. Unmanaged switches generally have less network capability than managed switches, but are much are cheaper.

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