network switches

Posted on 2005-04-29
Last Modified: 2013-12-07
what is the difference between

 - layer 3 managed
-  layer 2 managed
-  smart switches
-  Unmanaged

which is good to use in a business that is needing a contact point for about 10 pcs.

Question by:bman9111
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    Layer 3 managed - This means you can configure the switch rather dynamically. It also has the capability to work at layer 3 (the IP level) so you can get it to do routing functions. Probably more than you're looking for.

    Layer 2 managed - Again, the managed means you can do a large amount of configuration. However you can do it only at layer 2 (This would be the Ethernet) so it will allow you to do VLANs, only allow certain machines to connect based on MAC address, etc. large variety of things. Again, probably more than you need

    "smart switch" - this is more of a gimic. Any switch is generally smart. Because it will gather information regarding the traffic being passed and add that information to it's arp table. This makes it so it will only send packets to the port where a specific machine's MAC address lives. This gets away from the hub style where everything was broadcast to every port.

    unmanaged - pretty much the same applies as above.

    So for a small 10 pc network you'll be fine with just a standard unmanaged or "smart switch"
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    - managed: highly configurable, can configure each port for speed, half/full duplex, capable of being segmented into VLANs, capable of providing SNMP info, capable of combining ports into trunks, usually has a web-based admin GUI

    - unmanaged: none of the above, just a switch

    - Layer 3 - aware of IP addresses, capable of IP routing

    - Layer 2 - only aware of MAC addresses, no IP routing

    - smart switch - marketing term referring to plug & play features
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    Depends on what you want to spend.
    But for a small network of 10 PC's ,a cheap unmanaged 16 port at about $100 is a no brainer.

    All of the others mentioned are good for an enterprise situation that requires SNMP reporting to things like HP Openview, Tivoli or ManageWise.

    Layer 3 switches act like routers using the network layer(vlan),layer 2 switches build switching tables using a MAC address (data link).
    Smart switchs can be managed to do things like spanning tree and port mirroring.
    You can get fairly granular on what you want to do,but you pay a premium for the utilites as opposed to a dumb or unmanaged switch.
    LVL 8

    Author Comment

    I have 2 in mind can u guys give me some advice on these 2

    netgear fs526t
    netgear gs524t
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    They both look fine.
    But the question is,do you need all the bells and whistles or will a basic switch at 1/4 to 1/8 the price do the job?
    I would get a basic swich and spend the saved $$ on more RAM or faster disks on the file server.

    Unless you are doing video editing or have some monster app that will saturate the bandwidth of the switch,a 10 user network will never even come close to needing gigabit.

    But it's your call.
    LVL 27

    Expert Comment

    It looks like the fs526t is managed, but it's 24 ports of 10/100.
    It looks like the gs524t is UNmanaged, and its 24 ports of 10/100/1000.

    Unless your clients need gigE, which I doubt, I would highly recommend putting in Managed switches - they give you more flexibility in the future, and the ability to troubleshoot issues.  So, you can look like the hero later, when they want to do more or they have problems.  If you're stuck with unmanaged, lack of capability, then you look like a fool later when you can't troubleshoot and they can't grow because YOU suggested equipment which didn't have scability.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    For your small network, I'd go with the FS model.  Plug it in and forget about it.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Layer 3 lets you set up several "networks" and route between them.
    Managed means you can program/configure options on the switch, such as QoS, VLAN's, port speeds, etc.

    For 10-node network you are fine with just a standard 10/100 layer-2 switch. Go with a Netgear JFS516 or JFS524 - both are great products which are cheap and reliable.

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