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

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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 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 ethernet network 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. To get the basic idea about the cost of industrial PoE switches, fiber switches, ethernet switches visit Versitron

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

Which 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. To get more information about managed and unmanaged switches, Feel free to reach out throgh contact us page.

What is the Network Switch Management?

Management of network switches involves the administration, configuration, and monitoring of these devices to ensure efficient and secure data transmission within them. Network switches are essential components of local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs), as they enable devices to communicate with each other by forwarding data packets to their intended destinations. Here are some key aspects of network switch management:
  • Initial Configuration: When setting up a new switch, it needs to be configured with basic settings such as the management IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, and administrative credentials. This can typically be done through a web-based interface or a command-line interface (CLI).
  • VLAN Configuration: Virtual LANs (VLANs) are used to segment the network into smaller broadcast domains for better performance and security. Network switches allow the creation and management of VLANs to logically separate devices within the same physical network.
  • Port Configuration: Switch ports can be configured with specific settings, such as speed and duplex settings (e.g., 100Mbps, 1Gbps), enabling or disabling port features (like Spanning Tree Protocol), and assigning ports to specific VLANs.
  • Spanning Tree Protocol (STP): STP is used to prevent network loops in Ethernet networks. Switches running STP communicate with each other to create a loop-free logical topology. If a redundant link is detected, STP will block one of the paths to avoid packet flooding.
  • Link Aggregation: Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) or other similar methods can be used to combine multiple physical links between switches to increase bandwidth and provide link redundancy.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): QoS settings can be configured on network switches to prioritize certain types of traffic, ensuring critical applications receive the necessary bandwidth and minimizing delays for time-sensitive data.
  • Security Features: Switch management involves setting up security measures such as port security to control which devices can connect to specific switch ports, enabling features like 802.1X for port-based network access control & implementing Access Control Lists (ACLs) to filter and control traffic.
  • Firmware Updates: Regularly updating switch firmware is essential to ensure the latest security patches and bug fixes are applied.
  • Monitoring and Troubleshooting: Network administrators use various tools and protocols to monitor switch performance, identify potential issues, and troubleshoot connectivity problems. Common monitoring methods include Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and logging.
  • Backup and Restore: Regularly backing up switch configurations is crucial to quickly recover from unexpected failures or to replicate settings to new devices.
  • Remote Management: Many network switches allow remote management, which enables administrators to access and configure switches from a central location.
  • Compliance and Documentation: Properly documenting switch configurations, changes & network topology helps with network troubleshooting and ensures compliance with organizational policies and industry standards.

What are the Benefits of Proper Network Switch Management?

Proper network switch management offers a range of benefits that contribute to the smooth and efficient operation of a computer network. Some key advantages include:
  • Improved Network Performance: Effective switch management allows administrators to optimize network traffic flow, reducing bottlenecks and congestion. By configuring QoS settings and implementing traffic prioritization, critical applications can receive higher bandwidth, ensuring smoother data transmission and improved overall network performance.
  • Enhanced Security and Access Control: Network switch management enables administrators to implement robust security measures, such as port security and VLAN segmentation. With access control lists (ACLs) and authentication mechanisms, unauthorized access to sensitive data and resources can be prevented, bolstering network security.
  • Efficient Traffic Segmentation: VLAN configuration through switch management allows network segmentation, isolating specific groups of devices from others. This enhances network security, reduces broadcast traffic, and improves overall network efficiency.
  • Easy Troubleshooting: Managed switches provide comprehensive monitoring and reporting features, allowing administrators to quickly detect and troubleshoot network issues. Detailed error logs, port statistics, and packet analysis facilitate swift problem identification and resolution.
  • Redundancy and High Availability: Proper switch management facilitates the setup of link aggregation (LAG) and Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), which promote network redundancy and high availability. In case of a link failure, LAG ensures failover to redundant links, while STP prevents network loops and ensures a stable network topology.
  • Network Monitoring and Diagnostics: Managed switches offer real-time monitoring of network performance, traffic patterns, and resource utilization. Administrators can use this data to identify potential network bottlenecks, predict capacity requirements, and plan network expansion effectively.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Through network switch management, administrators can easily add, remove, or modify network devices and configurations, ensuring the network remains flexible and scalable to accommodate changing business needs.
  • Streamlined Network Management: Centralized switch management tools, such as Network Management Software (NMS) or web-based GUIs, simplify network administration tasks. These tools provide a user-friendly interface for configuration, monitoring, and maintenance, saving time and effort for network administrators.

Overall, effective network switch management is essential for maintaining a stable & secure network infrastructure, optimizing performance & ensuring smooth data flow across the network.

Managed Commercial Grade Switches
Model Product Name Copper Ports Copper Speed Fiber Ports
(SFP Slots)
Fiber Speed Connector Type
SG70660M 6-Port Managed Switch 6 10/100/1000 1 100 LC
S70850M 8-Port Managed Switch 7 10/100 1 100 LC
SG72860M 28-Port Managed Switch 24 10/100/1000 4 100/1G LC
SGX72870MA 28-Port Managed 10G Switch 24 10/100/1000 4 1G/10G LC
SGX75270M 52-Port Managed 10G Switch 48 10/100/1000 4 1G/10G LC


Unmanaged Commercial Grade Switches
Model Product Name Copper Ports Copper Speed Fiber Ports
(SFP Slots)
Fiber Speed Connector Type
SG70460 4-Port Unmanaged Switch 2 10/100/1000 2 1G LC
SG70660 6-Port Unmanaged Switch 4 10/100/1000 2 1G LC


Unmanaged Industrial Grade Switches
Model Product Name Copper Ports Copper Speed Fiber Ports
(SFP Slots)
Fiber Speed Connector Type
SF70460 4-Port Unmanaged Industrial Switch 2 10/100/1000 2 100/1G LC
SF70660 6-Port Unmanaged Industrial Switch 4 10/100/1000 2 100/1G LC
SF70760 7-Port Unmanaged Industrial Switch 6 10/100/1000 1 100/1G LC
SF70960 9-Port Unmanaged Industrial Switch 8 10/100/1000 1 100/1G LC
SF71060 10-Port Unmanaged Industrial Switch 8 10/100/1000 2 100/1G LC


Managed Industrial Grade Switches
Model Product Name Copper Ports Copper Speed Fiber Ports
(MM, SFP Slots)
Fiber Speed Connector Type
SF70460M 4-Port Managed Industrial Switch 2 10/100/1000 2 100/1G LC
SF70760M 7-Port Managed Industrial Switch 6 10/100/1000 1 100/1G LC
SF71060MA 10-Port Managed Industrial Switch 8 10/100/1000 2 100/1G LC
SF71053M2 10-Port Managed Industrial 10/100 Switch 8 10/100 2 MM 100 ST
SF72860M 28-Port Managed Industrial Switch 24 10/100/1000 4 1G LC


Managed Industrial Grade PoE/PoE+ Switches
Model Product Name Copper Ports Copper Speed Fiber Ports
(SFP Slots)
Fiber Speed Connector Type
SF70460MP 4-Port Managed Industrial PoE/PoE+ Switch 2 10/100/1000 2 100/1G LC
SF70760MP 7-Port Managed Industrial PoE/PoE+ Switch 6 10/100/1000 1 100/1G LC
SF71060MPA 10-Port Managed Industrial PoE/PoE+ Switch 8 10/100/1000 2 100/1G LC
SF71860MP 18-Port Managed Industrial PoE/PoE+ Switch 16 10/100/1000 2 100/1G LC


Managed Commercial Grade PoE/PoE+ Switches
Model Product Name Copper Ports Copper Speed Fiber Ports
(SFP Slots)
Fiber Speed Connector Type
SG71060MPB 10-Port Managed PoE/PoE+ Switch 8 10/100/1000 2 100/1G LC
SG72060MP 20-Port Managed PoE/PoE+ Switch 16 10/100/1000 4 100/1G LC
SGX72870MP 28-Port Managed PoE/PoE+ Switch 24 10/100/1000 4 1G/10G LC
SGX75270MP 52-Port Managed PoE/PoE+ Switch 48 10/100/1000 4 1G/10G LC

FAQs

1. What are unmanaged switches?

Unmanaged switches are network devices that require no manual configuration and work out of the box.

2. What are managed switches?

Managed switches are network devices that offer advanced configuration and control options for efficient network management and optimization.

3. Can I connect two unmanaged switches together?

Yes, you can connect two unmanaged switches together for network expansion.

4. What is Difference between managed and unmanaged switches?

Managed switches offer configuration options and advanced features, while unmanaged switches are plug-and-play without customization.

5. How many unmanaged switches on a network?

There can be multiple unmanaged switches on a network, depending on the network's design and requirements.

6. Do unmanaged switches have MAC addresses?

Yes, unmanaged switches have MAC addresses for communication within the local network.

7. How do unmanaged switches work?

Unmanaged switches automatically forward data between connected devices without the need for user intervention or setup.
Rich Tull

Rich Tull
R.W. Tull is the President of Versitron, a leading technology company specializing in data communication and networking solutions. With expertise in Guiding network switches and media converters, R.W. Tull has played a pivotal role in driving Versitron's success. His deep understanding of these technologies has enabled the company to provide innovative and reliable solutions to clients. As a visionary leader, He ensures that Versitron remains at the forefront of the industry, delivering cutting-edge networking solutions that enhance data communication efficiency.
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