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In today’s business world, a lot of devices are connected to the internet and in companies, there needs to be a way to ensure that the data is transmitted to and from the right device. Here at Dukatech, we have a wide array of networking equipment that helps ensure this is done. As an authorized dealer of telecommunications devices, we understand the need to have quality and efficient devices for use. Here we will look at network switches which are designed to enable the transfer of data in packets to the designated device. Below you get to learn what a network switch is, what it is made of, the different types and where they are suited for, and finally how to set up one for your office.
What is a network switch?
A network switch is a hardware device that connects devices on a local area network (LAN), allowing them to communicate with each other and share resources. A switch operates at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model, and it uses MAC addresses to forward traffic between devices on the network. An Open Systems Intercommunication (OSI) model is a seven-layer model that divides the process of communication into separate layers each of which serves a different role. These layers are
The physical layer which are the physical characteristics of the network, such as the type of cables and connectors used.
- The data link layer is responsible for dictating how data is transmitted over the physical link between two devices.
- The network layer defines how data is routed across the network from one device to another.
- The transport layer ensures that data is delivered reliably and in the correct order.
- The session layer is necessary for establishing, maintaining, and terminating connections between devices.
- The presentation layer, which formats and encrypts data for transmission.
- The application layer, which provides interfaces and services to the user.
The OSI model is used by network administrators to identify and diagnose connection issues that may arise as each layer is function specific. This way there is less time-consuming in comparison to running a full system diagnosis. In addition to this, it helps in the development of network protocols.
A switch is different from a router, which operates at the network layer (layer 3) of the OSI model and uses IP addresses to forward traffic between different networks. A switch is also different from a hub, which is a simpler device that broadcasts incoming traffic to all connected devices, regardless of their MAC addresses.
A network switch can improve the performance of a LAN by providing faster and more efficient communication between devices. It can also support more devices on the network by providing additional ports for connections. Some switches also offer advanced features such as the Quality of Service (QoS), which allows them to prioritize certain types of traffic for better performance.
What is a network switch made of?
A network switch is typically made of plastic or metal, and it contains a number of electronic components that allow it to function as a network device. The exact components and materials used in a network switch can vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer.
Some common components found in a network switch include:
- A central processing unit (CPU) manages the switch's operations and performs tasks such as packet forwarding and routing.
- Memory, such as dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) or flash memory, stores the switch's operating system and other data.
- Network interface controllers (NICs) provide the physical ports for connecting devices to the switch.
- A power supply that provides power to the switch and its components.
- Switches often also have LED indicators that show the status of the switch and its ports, as well as buttons for configuring and controlling the switch.
In addition to these components, a network switch may also contain other hardware such as fans or heatsinks to help cool the device, and connectors for attaching external devices or cables. The specific components and materials used in a network switch can vary depending on the intended use and features of the device.
How does a network switch work?
A network switch is largely responsible for the transmission of data within a designated LAN network this means it operates within the second OSI model layer, the data layer. For the forwarding of data to be as effective as possible, there are three main ways through which this is made possible. They include:
Edge/Access switches - These are used to link various devices and handle the traffic being transmitted between these devices.
- Aggregation switches - As the name suggests these are used to group together switches. Often they are connected to the edge switches and later connect to core switches. The data is transmitted between the devices connected to the edge switch and later transferred to the core switch.
- Core switches - Also known as the backbone switch since it is responsible for connecting all switches, routers, and devices to the main data centers.
The process used in each different model is:
- When a device on the network sends data to another device, the data is packaged into a series of small frames called packets. Each packet contains the source and destination MAC addresses, as well as the data being sent.
- The packet is sent to the network switch, which uses the destination MAC address to determine which device on the network the packet should be sent to.
- The switch maintains a table, called a MAC address table, that maps the MAC addresses of the devices connected to the switch to their corresponding port on the switch.
- The switch uses the MAC address table to determine which port the packet should be sent to, and it forwards the packet to that port.
- The packet is then sent from the switch to the destination device, where it is reassembled into its original form and delivered to the intended recipient.
In this way, a network switch acts as a central hub for traffic on a LAN, forwarding packets between devices and allowing them to communicate with each other. This can improve the performance of the network by providing faster and more efficient communication between devices.
What are the types of network switches?
There are several different types of network switches, each designed for specific uses and applications. The most common types of network switches include
Unmanaged switches: These are basic, plug-and-play switches that are designed for simple networks. They do not have any configuration options and they automatically forward traffic based on the MAC addresses of the devices connected to them.
- Managed switches: These are more advanced switches that can be configured and managed using a web interface or command-line interface. They offer more control and flexibility over the network, and they may include features such as Quality of Service (QoS) and VLANs.
- Gigabit switches: These are high-speed switches that support data rates of 1 Gbps or higher. They are designed for use in networks with large amounts of traffic or high-bandwidth applications such as video streaming.
- PoE switches: These switches include Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, which allows them to provide power to devices such as phones or cameras over the same cable that carries data. This eliminates the need for separate power cables, and it can be useful for devices that are located in hard-to-reach places.
- Stackable switches: These are switches that can be connected together to form a "stack," allowing them to be managed and configured as a single unit. This can be useful for larger networks that require more ports and greater scalability.
There are many other types of network switches, and the specific type of switch you need will depend on the size, complexity, and requirements of your network. It's important to choose a switch that is appropriate for your needs, as the wrong type of switch can limit the performance and functionality of your network.
How to set up a network switch
The process for setting up a network switch will vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer of the switch. In general, however, the steps for setting up a network switch are as follows:
- Start by unboxing the switch and all of its components, including the power adapter, Ethernet cables, and any documentation or instructions.
- Next, connect the power adapter to the switch and plug it into a power outlet. The switch should power on automatically.
- Connect the devices that you want to include on the network to the switch using Ethernet cables. Each device will have a port on the switch where you can connect the cable.
- Once all of the devices are connected to the switch, they should be able to communicate with each other and access the network. You can test this by trying to access network resources, such as a shared printer or file server, from different devices.
- If the switch is a managed switch, you can access the web interface or command-line interface to configure and manage the switch. This may include setting up VLANs, enabling Quality of Service (QoS), or assigning IP addresses to the devices on the network. Consult the documentation or instructions for the specific switch you are using for more information on how to access and configure the interface.
In some cases, you may need to connect the switch to a router in order to access the internet or connect to other networks. This will typically involve connecting an Ethernet cable from the router to one of the ports on the switch, and configuring the router to assign IP addresses to the devices on the network. Shop for your network switches today from Dukatech, an authorised dealer, and get to enjoy the best prices during gout annoying sale. We offer delivery chap chap, installation and maintenance upon the user request, wherever you are.