Switches are the industrial blocks that control the inner working of your network. Switches connect the devices to the over that helps to transfer data from one point to the right place. When we look at the managed switch and unmanaged switches it simply looks alike at first glance. After all, both connect the devices for communication.
But the comparison between the managed and unmanaged switches is just like comparing today’s smartphones with the first invented mobile phone in the 1990s. Each device serves a basic purpose of voice communication, but that is where their similarities come to an endpoint. What kind of switch you need depends on the type of application.
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What is managed switch?
The managed switch provides the same function as the unmanaged switch connect the device to the internet for communication purpose, but managed switch offers a feature that the unmanaged cannot provide. It is also called smart switches because of the level of intelligence it provides.
The managed switch helps to control the monitor, troubleshoot issues, and configure within the network. On the bases of data, you can easily prefer the channels and also create traffic controls. Each switch has its internet protocol address for addressing and identification. Through managed switch, you can investigate the performance problem and even able to create a new virtual network for segmentation purposes.
The managed switch provides security that the unmanaged switch cannot provide. Because it can manage and control network events, it will shut down when it monitors the threats and prevents unauthorized access. The managed switch has a feature for redundancy so data is duplicated and recovered when the network fails.
In terms of application, managed switches are in a position to be a part of the industrial network backbone to monitor and control the traffic.
Example of managed switch:
Energy parks are excellent examples of managed switches. They can continuously supervise the systems and monitor the operations and collect the data to keep the machine working smoothly. If the operation fails then the switch shift to another port allowing the machine to work smoothly. While it sends a report to the staff about the damage connection.
What is the unmanaged switch?
An unmanaged switch provides only one function it connects the Ethernet device to the network so that they can communicate with each other. Managed switch considers “the man in the middle”. It adds additional ports to the network but it cannot provide intelligence and is not a visible network device.
It cannot control the network and does not allow for configuration or require setup. However, it makes it easy to establish. Simple plug-and-play. In terms of industrial environments, it establishes across small networks and connects to the edge’s devices. it also adds short time devices to a large network.
Surveillance cameras are the best example of unmanaged switches. Once the camera records the activity it sends it to the unmanaged switch that is connected to it, it also collects the data from other cameras depending on how many ports it offers.
The unmanaged switch collects the data and sends it to the managed switch and goes up via the network. When comparing the cost of both switches unmanaged switches are less expensive but it provides simple features. In comparison, this managed switch provides intelligence network features.
Features of switches:
Properties of the managed switch are dull of monitoring and control including,
- Many securities attribute to control who is accessing the network, monitoring the security checks, and remediating the damage if occurs.
- It can be displayed in a wide range of areas like spanning tree protocol, aggregation, mesh, and stacking. This can allow for greater duplication and reliability.
- Managed switch able to optimize the performance of applications and devices on the network via quality-of-service features that help to sort the traffic and group types of devices that common services.
- Very easily managed and troubleshot networks, via remote, management, software-defined network management, and access to transceiver data showing traffic flow. Even it supplies the electric power to the endpoint.
Properties of unmanaged switches with basic connectivity features at a low price include,
- It is like plug-and-play operations that depend on the auto negotiations for settings.
- MAC address tables are being created and stored, making traffic management a step better than the use of Ethernet switches and hubs.
- Unmanaged switches are limited to simple network topologies such as daisy chain and star.
Difference between managed switches and unmanaged switches:
The four main key differences between managed and unmanaged switches are,
- Control and performance
When it comes to the cost the comparison is very simple. Unmanaged switches are at affordable prices usually in the range of from $50 to around $100 (USD) or more. The price depends on how many ports you need. Whereas, the managed switch is coming in high prices. The range is from $1500 per port to $2800 (USD) port. The price is affected by the different features, like access controls and security that you are paying for besides the switch configuration abilities.
An unmanaged switch provides basic security like a lockable port cover that makes sure basic security. It helps to prevent any type of direct tampering on the device. Whereas, the managed switch is coming in advanced settings and security features that help to monitor the threats and shut down on time for protection. It protects the data and shut down active threats and has a control and management program. The security differs from one managed hub to another, access control list prevent unauthorized user to enter. VLAN is used to make temporary access to your network for those who do not have access. It is worth buying managed switch it provides a lot of features and control over the network. The managed switch should be controlled by the technician who has the highest level of access.
The advantage of using an unmanaged switch comes to performance just plug in and play with your computer. There is no need to set anything it has in the built QoS service to ensure it works well. While working with the managed switch you need to prioritize the channel and make sure you will get better performance. Features like SNMP allow for remote troubleshooting of the network. Make it easier to check any issues that affect the performance, and allow you to fix them if necessary.
Freedom of configuration:
Managed allows the user to manage and control the LAN. New LANs are also allowed the user to create and operate the smaller devices and help the user to configure and manage the user effectively. Managed network switches come with advanced features that allow the user to recover data if the networks fail. It allows data recovery.
Unmanaged switches are very easy to use but come in a fixed configuration. It means that you are not allowed to make changes to the networks. This is why unmanaged switches are commonly used in start-up businesses having limited data exchange.
managed switch Vs unmanaged switch:
|Features||Managed switch||Unmanaged switch|
|security||Provide good security||Provide basic security|
|cost||More expensive||Less expensive|
|control||The managed switch provides full control to the network administer||An unmanaged switch works like a plug-and-play switch|
|performance||Uses SNMP to monitor and perform better||Built-in QoS service|
|configuration||It has an advanced feature to manage, configure and monitor||The unmanaged switch comes in the fixed configuration|
What are the disadvantages and benefits of the unmanaged switch?
There are both pros and cons for an unmanaged switch are,
- Do not have any advanced features for small and large networks.
- It does not offer a monitor traffic network.
- Do not management option for IoT devices on the network.
- Very easy to use no need for activation.
- Easy to install, simple just play and plug setup.
- Inexpensive and can be suitable for beginners and start-up businesses.
Drawbacks of using managed switches:
There are some negative points to consider when your device needs a managed switch,
- Complex setup procedures
- Take time to install
- Require the help of an IT professional
How to choose between the managed switch and managed network switches?
By now you realize the importance of choosing the right switch that fulfills the requirements of your IT scope. However, the following points help to make the right decision.
Performance you need:
if you have a start-up business and you need to minimize the cost and investments then the unmanaged switch is the better option. However, if you are a large business and have a large amount of data regularly then it is worth using a managed switch.
If the business grows in the future, then you need a managed switch that is manually configurable and gives allows scalability.
Although data transferred on the network are limited, the information may be sensitive and if you do not want a failure then, managed switches are the best option.
In the end, I want to emphasize that most homes do not need a managed switch. However, if you have a smartphone with multiple IoT devices and want to integrate and control them use the managed switch.
Frequently asked a question:
Q No 1: Are managed switches faster than unmanaged switches?
Ans: The answer is no. There is no main difference between the managed and unmanaged switch in terms of speed. Just note that managed switch provides better performance than an unmanaged switch and tends to improve speed in long run.