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Software feature comparison

When connecting more than one Ethernet device in the same location, an Ethernet Switch is the way to go. It may seem simple, like plugging a power cord into an outlet strip, but there are significant considerations one must take to ensure your network is rock solid.

Layer 2 managed switches

provide a lot of value in a network. First, they can let you know the status of the network. If an abnormal condition occurs, a managed switch can send you a message for notification. This includes things like high bandwidth consumption, unexpected port connection, and even power supply failure. Additionally, a managed switch can implement redundancy. This can be critical if an Ethernet cable gets cut, unplugged, or plugged into the wrong port, or even if the switch is unexpectedly powered down.

Lite-managed switches

offer precise and entry level network management features and are designed with the most frequently used Layer 2 functionality including IP management, redundancy, remote monitoring, and security features. All functions can be configured by a user-friendly Web GUI. The lite management functionality does not compromise manageability or security. These switches provide a cost-effective and operationally efficient approach to wide range of applications.

Unmanaged switches

are simple, easy to use, and connect your Ethernet devices so that everything communicates. Unmanaged switches do not provide any sort of monitoring, just taking data in and sending it back out. Using an unmanaged switch is much like driving a car without a dashboard. You will probably get to your destination, but you might not know how much gas you have left, is your engine overheating, or how fast you are going. In simple applications where there are a few Ethernet devices and no management purpose is required, unmanaged switches are often the best choice.

Compare software features of the above 3 different types of switches in the following table, and understand at-a-glance the availability of various management features so you can choose the best fitting switch for your networking needs.

Features Unmanaged Switches Lite-Managed Switches Layer 2 Managed Switches
Interfaces Console
  Relay Digital output
  Reset button   Mode button
System Management Web-GUI, CLI, Telnet  
  SNMP v1/v2c/v3  
  RMON   SNMP only
  DHCP Server/Client  
  NTP   SNTP only
Security MAC address filtering  
  Enable/Disable Port  
  IEEE802.1x LAN access control  
  IP ACL, Port ACL    
QoS Priority queues
  Rate limiting (Ingress/Egress)    
Redundancy STP/RSTP  
VLANs Tag Based VLAN  
  Port Based VLAN  
Multicasting IGMP Snooping  
Trunking Static Trunk