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

What Are the Key Differences Between Managed and Unmanaged Switches?

As the name suggests, one of the key differences between a managed and unmanaged switch lies in its approach. A managed 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.

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. 

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