Three Important Network Switching Parameters You Must Consider

Fiber optic network switches are a valuable asset to any high performance surveillance networks. They are analyzed on the basis of several performance factors including switching capacity, forwarding rate, switching bandwidth and more.

The switches may not perform as expected if there is any mismatch of parameters. Although each of these terms may appear understandable, they wield great importance during your selection. Read this post to find out what each of these parameters means. Before that, let’s understand network switching.

Network Switching Parameters

What is Network Switching?

Network switching is the transfer of data packets between devices within a computer network through a network switch. It is fundamental to the functioning of local area networks (LANs) and plays a crucial role in maintaining network efficiency and reliability.

Important Network Switching Parameters Analyzed

The following pointers will help you understand 3 network switching parameters and their calculation.

Switching Capacity:

It is also referred to as backplane width and it refers to the maximum value of data, which can be transmitted between a data bus or interface card. This is indicated in bps.

It is calculated as,

The switching capacity of a fiber optic network switch = total number of ports * rate of the port * 2 (for full-duplex).

For example: The switching capacity of the 24-port 100 M switch will be 24*100*2 and this value comes to 4.8Gbps.

Forwarding Performance:

This is also referred to as forwarding rate in technical terms. This indicates the packet forwarding capabilities of the fiber optic network switches. It is measured in packet per second or PPS. It shows the number of data packets forwarded by the switch in a second.

In Ethernet switches, the frame size of data is limited during the transmission due to the presence of Ethernet conflict detection mechanism. The Ethernet transmits minimum data frame of 84 bytes. It is calculated as minimum data frame rate + preamble bytes + interframe gap. Here, the minimum data frame rate is 64byte + 8byte preamble bytes+ 12 bytes interframe gap.

For example, consider a 100 Mbit/seconds Ethernet interface. It has an Ethernet interface rate of 12.5 Mbyte/s. How is this calculated? 1 byte = 8 bits, Ethernet Interface Rate = 100/8 or 12.5 Mbyte/seconds. It means a 100 Mbit/seconds Ethernet interface can deliver 12.5M bytes or 12500000byte per second.

If we assume that all data frames transmitted are of 84byte size then the data frame forwarded by the Ethernet port of 100 Mbit/seconds is 12500000/84=148809pps (frame/second) =0.1488Mpps = 148.8kpps

It can be rightly said that,

  • An Ethernet interface has a packet forwarding rate of 0.1488Mpps.
  • The Gigabit Ethernet interface has a packet forwarding rate of 1.488 Mpps
  • 10G Ethernet interface has the packet forwarding rate of 14.88 Mpps.
Forwarding Rate = Port Numbers x Port Speed/1000 x 1.488 Mpps.

It can be simply put as 8*100/1000*1.488Mpps = 1.2Mpps.

If the forwarding rate of the switch is less than this, then it may face a delay. This delay may further intensify if there is high capacity data for receive and send.

Switching Bandwidth and Forwarding Bandwidth:

Here, the switching bandwidth refers to the total amount of data, which can be transmitted through the switching plane.

Forwarding bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be forwarded to the interfaces. The calculation of these will be based on the optimal conditions.

Forwarding Bandwidth vs Switching Bandwidth


Forwarding Bandwidth

Switching Bandwidth


The maximum rate at which a network device can transmit data to/from other devices on the network.

The maximum number of data packets that a network switch can process and forward between connected devices.


Bandwidth is measured in bits per second (bps).

Switching bandwidth is measured in packets per second (pps).


Refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted in a given amount of time.

Refers to the number of data packets that can be processed and forwarded in a given amount of time.


Determines the overall throughput of a network device.

Determines the ability of a network switch to handle data traffic and prevent congestion.


Dependent on the device's hardware and software components.

Dependent on the switch's forwarding engine, memory, and ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) capacity.

Commonly used in

Routers, firewalls, and other networking devices.

Switches and other network hardware that need to handle high volumes of data traffic.

Knowing these parameters will definitely ease your selection; however, it is equally important to choose quality switches for your application. VERSITRON is an industry-leading manufacturer of fiber optic network switches. Pick-a-port modular switches and industrial PoE switches are popular types of fiber optic network switches offered by the company. They are available in 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 24, 28, and 52-port options.