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Unmanaged Ethernet Switch Buying Guide : Everything you need to know

Industrial Unmanaged Switches for Small Business

For smaller networks and for certain dedicated applications, hardened unmanaged switches are an economical alternative to managed and web-smart Ethernet switches. Unmanaged switches support full duplex operation and IEEE 802.3x flow control, and are often used in daisy chain or Alpha-chain applications. On some devices, alarms for power and link failure can be configured through DIP switch for monitoring of critical connections. Versatile mounting options include DIN-rail, panel or rack mounting.

Unmanaged Network Switch

Difference between VS. Managed and Unmanaged Switches

When connecting more than one Ethernet device in the same location, an Industrial Switch is the way to go. It may seem simple, like plugging into an outlet strip, but there are significant considerations one must take to ensure your network is rock solid. What is the difference between managed and unmanaged switches besides price you ask?

Which network switches fit your needs?

Managed switches provide extra value in a network by providing information about the status of the network. This includes things like high bandwidth consumption, unexpected port connections, and power supply failure. Additionally, a managed switch can implement redundancy, a critical feature when connectivity must be maintained at all times. Managed switches also enable administrators to configure, manage and monitor networks for full optimization.

Unmanaged switches are simpler, easy to use, and more economical. However, unmanaged switches do not provide any sort of monitoring, alerts or alarms. In simple applications where there are fewer devices, no VLANs, and basic connectivity is the main objective, they are often the best choice.

Managed SwitchesUnmanaged Switches
FeaturesVLAN, redundancy, DHCP, port mirroring, QoS, SNMP, etc.Few features. Mostly fixed configuration.
PerformanceHighly configurable, control network traffic based on user-defined parameters. Allow remote troubleshooting.Plug and play. Some allow configuration of QoS settings.
SecuritySecurity protocols for the data, management, and control planes.Physical security only
CostCostly to purchase, install, and maintain.Less expensive
ApplicationsLarge networks with more than three nodes.Small networks found in homes, small offices, laboratories, etc.

Frequently asked questions on Unmanaged Ethernet Switch

Unmanaged switches are plug-and-play devices that to not provide management or monitoring options. Setup is easy and requires no special networking knowledge. They are an economical choice that provide basic switching. 

Is an unmanaged Ethernet switch safe?

Unmanaged switches have very basic security, and rely more on physical access controls such as locked cabinets and securing of port covers. By preventing physical access to the unmanaged switch, a whole set of intrusion attempts can be minimized or eliminated. 

Watch Videos: OttoE _ Industrial Unmanaged 8-port Fast/Gigabit Ethernet Switch

Because Unmanaged Ethernet switches lack the security features on managed switches, physical security for unmanaged switches is extremely important. They should be stored in locked cabinets or restricted areas, and unused ports should be locked or disabled to prevent intruders from plugging into the device. 

There can be an issue with unmanaged switches and network loops. Managed switches almost always have loop detection called Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). However, if unmanaged switches are set up correctly in the network topology, there should be no issues. 

No. Managed switches and unmanaged switches operate at basically the same speed. But managed switches usually have traffic control protocols that provide fine-tuned and better overall network performance.