Votes: 0Posted On: May 30, 2017 03:01:09
Before we dig into managed and unmanaged switches, let us first discuss a little bit about switches. Switches are the most useful of all the network devices. Broadly speaking, these are used to connect devices in a network. Although, with the inception of the internet, the switches now accomplish many sophisticated tasks. Over the years, the switches have evolved immensely and are now being termed as "intelligent devices." Some type of switches can function on different layers of OSI model simultaneously and are called multilayer switches. The switches are broadly classified into two types- managed and unmanaged which we will be discussing in detail.
Managed switches are flexible devices. They support configuration of your network through user-friendly interfaces. You can change your switches configuration in case of an alteration in your network setup. You can control your data flow and provide or deny access to any network devices. The unmanaged switches, however, are just "plug n play" devices and provides no configuration settings. They come with a default configuration setup that cannot be changed. These are rigid in their working.
The function of managed switches is to prioritize the data packets incident on it and decide which packets to deliver first. It also makes use of protocols such as SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) which is used for network management. SNMP collects the information of all the network devices and helps make an informed decision like determining the health of the network and the status of the devices. The unmanaged switch, on the other hand, is responsible for simply transferring the packets to their destination. It is unaware of the data traffic and sends the packets without any analysis of the network.
Needless to say, the managed switches cost a lot more than the unmanaged ones. This is because of the complexity of their design and the multiple functions that they perform. They imbibe the characteristics of the unmanaged switches with additional features that put them in the category of "intelligent devices".
Quality of Service (QOS)
Quality of Service refers to the way in which the network is handled by the switch. With the characteristics of prioritizing the network devices and assigning a higher priority to critical traffic, the managed switches rank way above the unmanaged switches. The unmanaged switches are the primary devices in the network hierarchy.
Where to use?
The unmanaged switches can be used in most primitive network environments like connecting computer systems to printers. The managed switches, on the other hand, can be deployed in a more complex network setting where the data traffic is of a substantial amount and the devices need to be prioritized.
These were some of the comparisons between the managed and unmanaged switches. Both play a significant role in different levels of a network.