Which is the Best Network Switch - Managed Switch VS Unmanaged Switch?


The local area Ethernet networks use various networking hardware to ensure the connectivity of devices. The network switch is the most important among them because they act as a brain of the network and help connect the devices on a particular Local Area Network (LAN) effectively. These switches receive a message from a target source and they forward it to the intended device, thereby ensuring an effective data transmission between devices on a LAN. Owing to their increasing importance, today, they are designed in various specifications and configurations. They are sometimes differentiated based on their ports or materials, or other factors. In spite of all these, they mainly belong to two categories – managed and unmanaged switches. How do these switches differ? What is the right switch for your application? Read the post to know the answers. 

Difference between managed and unmanaged switch

Key Differences Between Managed vs Unmanaged Switches

As the name suggests, one of the key differences between a managed and unmanaged switch lies in its approach. A managed network switch provides flexibility to the network administrator to control, manage, and prioritize the LAN traffic. However, an unmanaged switch works like a plug and play switch which allows devices on the LAN to communicate with each other, without user intervention. The following points will help you understand other key points between these two network switches:

  • Freedom of Configuration:

    The managed switches allow users to manage, configure, as well as monitor the LAN. They allow users to create new LANs and segregate smaller devices and help users manage the traffic effectively. Managed network switches come with advanced features that allow users to recover data in the event of failure of the device or network. They also allow data recovery.

    Unmanaged switches may be easy to use, but they come with a fixed configuration, which means you cannot make changes to the networks. This is why it is most commonly used for startup businesses having limited data exchange.

  • Performance Management:

    Unmanaged network switches are the plug and play type switches. They have built-in QoS services, which ensure their easy setup and utility. However, the managed network switches allow you to manage the performance by prioritizing the channels. It utilizes protocols such as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to monitor the performance of all devices connected on the LAN. The managed switch also uses SNMP to analyze the current performance of devices on the network through an easy-to-understand graphical interface. Additionally, SNMP also enables remote management of the connected devices and network, without requiring a physical intervention on the switch.
  • Security Features:

    Unmanaged switches have basic security features such as a lockable port cover that ensures basic security, and helps avoid any type of direct tampering on the device. However, managed network switches are equipped with advanced features that help identify active threats and shut them down on time, and protect data and control.
  • Costs:

    The unmanaged network switches are available in affordable price ranges, whereas the managed switches are available in higher price ranges owing to their advanced features.

How to Choose Between the Managed and Unmanaged Network Switch

By now, you might have realized the importance of choosing the right network switch that meets the requirements of your IT scope. However, the following pointers will help you make the right decision:

  • Scalability: Is the business and the network expected to grow in the future? If yes, perhaps, you may need a couple of managed network switches that are manually configurable and allow scalability.
  • Performance and Speed: If you are a startup business, and wish to minimize the upfront investments, then the unmanaged switch is a better option. However, if you have to transfer a large amount of data on a regular basis then managed switches can do justice.
  • Security: Although limited data is being transferred across the network, the information may be sensitive, and you do not want it to be tampered. In this case, managed switches are the best option.
Features Managed Switches  Unmanaged Switches
Control Managed switches provides flexibility to the network administrator Unmanaged switches works like a plug and play switch
Security Provides extensive set of security features Provides basic set of security features
Configuration Managed network switch has advanced features which allows users to manage, configure, and monitor Unmanaged network switch comes with fixed configuration 
Performance Monitoring Uses (SNMP) to monitor the performance Built-in QoS services
Cost More Expensive Less Expensive

What is better managed or unmanaged switch?

The information provided in this post will help you understand the key benefits of managed and unmanaged network switches and also help in decision making. After knowing this, it is important to source them from a trusted brand. Versitron provides unmanaged and managed fiber optic network switches in various configurations. 


SKU Product Name Environment RFQ
SG70460 4 Port Gigabit Fiber Switch Unmanaged
SF70460MP* 4-Port Industrial Managed Switch Managed
S7055xM 5 Port Ethernet Switch Managed
SF70550P* 5 Port PoE Switch Unmanaged
SG70660M 6 Port Fiber Optic Managed Switch Managed
SG70660 6 Port Gigabit Unmanaged Switch Unmanaged
S7075xM 7 Port Managed Ethernet Switch Managed
S7085x 8-Port Ethernet Switch Unmanaged
SF7085xM* 8-Port Industrial Managed Switch Managed
SG71070M 10-Port Fiber Gigabit Switch Managed
SG71060MPA 10 Port PoE Fiber Ethernet Switch Managed
SG162147M 16-Port Fiber Optic Managed Switch Managed
SG71860MP 18-Port PoE Fiber Switch Managed 
SG24424M 24-Port Fiber Optic Managed Switch Managed 
SG72870M 28-Port Fiber Optic Switch Managed
SG72870MP 28 Port Gigabit Managed Switch Managed
SG71090 Managed Pick a Port 3 Slot Modular Switch Managed
SG75270M 52-Port Managed Switch Managed
SG75270MP 52 Port PoE Switch Managed
SF71060M* 10-Port Industrial Managed Switch Managed
SF71060MP* 10-Port Gigabit Industrial PoE Switch Managed
SG10208 10-Port Fiber Optic Unmanaged Switch Unmanaged


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