Managed Switch or Unmanaged Switch?

When you’re deciding on your infrastructure equipment, choosing whether a managed switch or unmanaged switch is right for your application can be difficult. Luckily you have capable Engineers such as us at your fingertips to explain every last detail. So lets get to it.lnx-500a_right[1]

An Unmanaged switch can be referred to as “dumb”. It is so to speak a glorified hub. Which means, the switch runs
without any user interaction. Unlike a hub though, the switch has full bandwidth to each port. These switches have a set of basic features but no options for configurations. They just work the way they do, i.e. plug & play.

A Managed switch boasts multiple features and allows for full configuration. The user can monitor and control the number and types of data packets sent or received on each port over the same network, typically from a remote location.

managedCommon management methods include a CLI or command-line interface accessed via serial console, telnet, or SecureShell where the user can pass commands to the computer program to control the switch, an embedded Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) agent allowing management from a remote console or management station, and a web interface for management from a web browser. Examples of configuration changes using a managed switch include enabling features such as spanning tree protocol, setting port bandwidth, or creating and modifying Virtual LANs (VLANs).

These features, however, only scratch the surface of what a managed switch could potentially do for you. There is also logging ability, traffic management, etc. depending on the features the switch has to offer.
In scenarios where the network traffic is light, all that is required is a way for the data to pass from one device to another. In this case there is no need for configuration or prioritizing packets, as all the traffic should flow unimpeded. An unmanaged switch would be handle this without any issues.

As the number of devices increase, the ability to ensure that the data packets are prioritized becomes increasingly difficult as more streams of data become prevalent on the network. You may also deal with the question of which devices have access to what portion of the network. In this scenario a managed switch would provide the ability to monitor each device on the network and limit the amount of bandwidth any device can use.

Unmanaged switches are primarily targeted for home and SOHO and managed switches are for large business, high traffic applications, i.e. data centers and other applications that need features such as maximum configuration, centralized management and monitoring, and speed and performance.

As for choosing one, it is mostly about your budget and application. If you just want to setup a plug and play network an unmanaged switch is good enough. This is also a more affordable option, but if you need configuration options like VLAN, or QoS you will have to use a managed switch depending on the features they offer.
Antaira’s affordable switches offer many features for your specific applications. For a list of Unmanaged and Managed Switches that Antaira offers, please click here. Having trouble choosing? Call, Email, or Leave a comment here and we will be happy to help.