Network switches connect computers, servers, printers, cameras and other devices across networks. The typical switch houses several output and input ports, and acts as the central location network controller. Consider the number of connected devices, data transfer speed and support required for multiple protocols to future-proof your network.
Switches typically have anywhere from five to 52 ports that handle small to large networks. Select a standalone desktop switch for creating a small network that facilitates internet communication between a few devices. Select a rack-mounted switch for a data center or server room setup in busy office environments. KVM switches let you connect a keyboard, video and mouse set to multiple computers to save much-needed space on your desk or rack space in a server room.
Business goals and processes are always improving, and network switches let you act quickly on new requirements. Many switches come with auto-sensing ports capable of supporting 10, 100 and 1,000-gigabit connections. Other models boast optimized 2.5- and 10-gigabit ports for 802.11ac access point deployment. Modular switches allow adding switch modules as needed for improved flexibility. Simple 1Gbps SFP modules are easy to replace for updates, and protect your switch investment. Rackmount switches combine multiple standalone devices, so they function as a single unit with a joint supervision interface while increasing the number of available ports for your network.
There are three types of switches that handle the needs of your network. Unmanaged switches provide plug-and-play functionality, making them ideal for use in small offices with straightforward networking requirements. Managed switches have a suite of advanced features that make it possible to manage and troubleshoot networks securely and remotely via a web-based interface or serial console. The switches include tools that allow network engineers to achieve optimal network performance in a repeatable and reliable manner. Some smart network switches let users set up options like VLANs for streamlining data optimization and IP phone configuration.
Secure access is vital in a world where online threats are abundant. Some models of Gigabit Ethernet switches have robust security features for threat mitigation and policy enforcement. Security benefits include the ability to control and monitor your network to shut down active threats. Access Control Lists (ACLs) allow critical data to pass through while blocking potentially dangerous traffic and updates.
Most of these products have built-in Quality of Service (QoS) protocols for enhancing media streaming reliability. PoE switches have network ports for energy transmission to devices like security cameras, wireless access points and VoIP phones. Most switch models support IP4 and IP6 for compatibility with current and future networking protocols. Rate Limiting prevents unnecessary traffic from overwhelming devices. The fanless design minimizes noise during operation, while compatibility with various wired accessories provides easy setup.