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Time: August 7th, 2023

Wondering what is an unmanaged switch? Well, network switches are an important part of any network. They provide a means for computers to share resources like printers and internet connections with each other. However, there is a lot of confusion around the difference between managed and unmanaged switches. This article aims to clear up some of that confusion by answering common questions about managed and unmanaged switches in easy-to-understand language.



As a computer user, you may be familiar with the concept of a network switch. A network switch is an electronic device that allows computers to communicate with each other over a network or internet connection. These devices are used in homes and businesses around the world, as well as in many schools and universities. Switches can either be managed or unmanaged; managed switches have more features than unmanaged switches, but they also cost more money.


What is Managed Switch?

Managed switches are connected to a central management system. The management system can be a software application or a dedicated hardware device, but either way, it's used to configure the switch and its ports. It can also be used to monitor the switch's performance, which is useful when you want to keep track of how much traffic goes through each port on your network so that you know if any one port has become overloaded with data packets (and thus needs more bandwidth).


What is an Unmanaged switch?

Unmanaged switches are basic, no-frills networking devices. They require no configuration, and they're inexpensive enough to be used for small networks. However, unmanaged switches do not have the same features as managed ones (more on this later). And while they can be effective in certain situations, they're not always reliable enough for large networks or ones that require high uptime. You can configure an unmanaged switch by manually configuring its settings through the use of physical buttons on the device itself or by using software provided with it (such as Cisco's Command Line Interface). These are the features of these switches:


  1. Data Transfer Rate

The data transfer rate is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The higher the data transfer rate, the faster your network will be.


  1. Number of Ports

The number of ports on a switch is the number of devices you can connect to it. The number of ports depends on the model and size of your network. For example, if you have a small home office with two computers and three printers, then buying an eight-port unmanaged switch would be sufficient because each computer will have its own port and all three printers can share one port as well (see Figure 1). However, if there were more devices or computers in use at once then it might be necessary to buy a larger switch with more ports so no devices are left without connectivity options when others need them most!

  1. Port Speed

The port speed refers to how fast the data is transmitted. It's usually expressed in Mbps (megabits per second) or Gbps (gigabits per second). For example, 10/100/1000 Mbps means that the maximum throughput of a single port on an unmanaged switch is 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, or 1000 Mbps (depending on what type of cable you use with it). You can also find some unmanaged switches advertised as having speeds up to 10000 Gbps.

The most common types of ports found on unmanaged switches are 10/100 Mbps - The most basic type of Ethernet connection used by PCs and other devices such as printers and gaming consoles. This will work fine for most people's needs but won't be able to support very high bandwidth applications such as video streaming services like Netflix or Hulu where you might need several streams running simultaneously at once

  1. Power Consumption

Power consumption is measured in watts, and it's an important factor to consider when choosing a switch. The more ports you need, the higher your power consumption will be. The faster a port speed is (10/100 Mbps vs 1 Gbps), the higher its wattage will be--and this can add up quickly if you want to connect multiple devices at once.

The amount of devices connected to each port also affects how much electricity an unmanaged switch uses; if you have eight computers connected via gigabit Ethernet cables on one port, that's eight times as much energy than if only one computer were connected via cable.*

  1. Power Source

Unmanaged switches can be powered by a power adapter or PoE. Power adapters are more common and cheaper, but they require you to plug the unmanaged switch into an electrical outlet. PoE is more expensive and complex, but it allows you to power your unmanaged switch using the network cable itself.


Differences between Managed and Unmanaged Switches

So, we answered the question of what is an unmanaged switch, now let’s move to more concepts. The difference between the two is that managed switches have more features, and therefore are more expensive than unmanaged ones. You should use an unmanaged switch if you're building a small or home office network or if you need to add additional ports to an existing network.


An important factor when choosing between these two types of hardware devices is whether or not they have built-in management interfaces (MI). Without this functionality, your only option is to purchase third-party software that can monitor your network traffic and provide alerts if there are any issues with it--but this adds cost without adding value since all switches come with basic configuration tools that allow users who aren't familiar with MI software to configure their device just fine without having any knowledge about how MIs work!


Managed switches are more expensive than unmanaged switches, but they're also easier to configure and manage. Managed switches have more features that can help you monitor and manage your network better. They tend to be more reliable and secure than their unmanaged counterparts, too; because they're designed for use in an office environment where many people are using the same equipment, managed switches are built with security in mind. Managed Switches are also better performers than Unmanaged Switches due to their ability to be customized for different applications by administrators through software configuration settings (i.e., port mirroring).


Wrapping Up:

This concludes our topic of what is an unmanaged switch and its basic concepts. If you're looking to purchase a network switch, you must know the difference between managed and unmanaged. Managed switches offer more features than their unmanaged counterparts, but they also have higher prices. With this knowledge in hand, you can make an informed decision about which type of switch is best for your needs.

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