We can say the switch is a more sophisticated version of the hub. This type of equipment also interconnects computers and other devices on a network, but creates “source and destination” communication channels within it.
This means that data leaves the source device and is forwarded by the switch only to the target device, without this information having to be retransmitted to every node in the network.
Note that the LANs maintained by switches have more efficient communication, because unlike hubs, this type of equipment does not require the other nodes on the network to be “silent” while one is transmitting data.
With a switch, you can have one or more nodes sending data at the same time on your network. There will only be some sort of temporary data holding or blocking if these computers are trying to communicate with the same node.
Because this source and destination model optimizes data flow, a switch-based network is less susceptible to communication failures. In addition, this type of equipment is quite suitable for relatively large networks.
You can find switches with eight, 16, 24, 48, or 96 ports on the market, for example.
Manageable and non-manageable switch
The industry basically works with two types of switches: manageable switch and unmanageable switch. The unmanageable models are simpler and cheaper, so they are usually suitable for small networks (such as a simple office) or those that do not have a large data flow.
This is because unmanageable switches are plug and play, so to speak: all you need to do is connect the computers that are part of the network to it. You can’t do any specific configuration on them, except to adjust one or other parameter connected to the operation of the network itself.
A manageable switch is different. With it, you can configure various parameters to increase network security, improve data flow, prioritize certain types of traffic, among others.
With manageable switches, you can also monitor the network, even remotely. As a rule, monitoring is done through SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), a specific protocol for this purpose.