In the terminology of electronics, switch is an electronic device which breaks the circuit and thus carries the current to different conducts. Whereas in networking, switches are referred as the devices which are used to establish or connect a network.
Role of network switches
Large and small LAN networks require a bundle of switches for the network connectivity. Various kinds of switches such as packet switches and network switches are an integral part of the network. The purpose of switches is connect all kinds of whether traditional LAN s or SOHO networks. SOHO is a term given to a very small enterprise comprising of more than or equal to ten people. The requirement of such small networks is a single all purpose switch. This single switch serves the purpose of connecting to DSL, WiFi and cable router. Typically switches operate at the data link layer of the OSI model. Switches can operate at different OSI layers, and these multi layered devices are called multi layer switches. Multi layer switches can operate at data link layer, physical layer, transport and network layer. Switches are of many types and they contain many ports. The presence of ports helps to connect or maintain various networks as Fiber Channel, ATM and most commonly Ethernet. Layer 3 or the network layer of the OSI model is help switches to connect to the network and process data. Network Switches are helpful in establishing all kinds of small and large networks. For example in a large organization where there is a need to connect various LANs to form one big WAN. The WAN router is often connected through the switches.
Micro segmentation using network switches
Switches are dedicated, active and smart devices they work much more efficiently than the other network devices. Switches are used to build micro segments in the network. The purpose of segmentation is to abstain from the data and connections to overlap each other. For example you establish a network connecting five or six computers to each other as a, b, c, d, e. all these terminals are connected using five switch port. Terminals such as a and b can transfer data to each other as well as other 3 terminals without intermingling with each other. This efficiency and unambiguous working of the network is due to the efficacy of network switches. If we however connect our network with the hub alone, all terminals will share single working unit hub. There would be chance of these devices to collide. Moreover the segmentation that the use of switches provides is helpful in attaining the full duplex connection.
Types and uses of switches
The network switches serve innumerable purposes and uses. They are a reliable and efficient way to establish connectivity. Switches are of many types depending on the prototype in which they are used. The various categories of switches contained in a network are unmanaged switches, managed switches. The least expansive switches , that are used for single connection and small network operations is called unmanaged switches. They are termed so because of their lack of configuration crossing point. When the operation of the switches can be modified to perform various operations, they are termed as managed switches. Managed switches are preferred due to their adaptive configuration. Managed switches can create virtual LANs and can also be used to alter the connection speed. Managed switches are further dived into two categories such as smart switches and enterprise managed switches. The switches which have minimum management capability are called smart switches. Whereas the switches, which can provide full line and web interface are called enterprise switches. Enterprise switches are expense but they can be customized for many uses.