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KhakiHat

Unmanaged vs. managed network switches?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I'm thinking about buying a network switch for the access of more ethernet ports but I've come to find that there are unmanaged and managed switches.

 

Could someone give me a brief explanation of the two? I heard one is better than the other but I am unsure as of why.

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1 minute ago, KhakiHat said:

I'm thinking about buying a network switch for the access of more ethernet ports but I've come to find that there are unmanaged and managed switches.

 

Could someone give me a brief explanation of the two? I heard one is better than the other but I am unsure as of why.

If you don't know the difference, it's very much unlikely you'll have any need for a managed switch. Managed switches offer functionality like e.g. VLANs, QoS, some of them offer full packet-filtering and so on -- that is, they are generally meant for complex networks. Performance-wise there is no difference.


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Managed - You have to configure the ports, settings, etc. yourself. It requires more knowledge of settings but can offer some powerful features like link aggregation (which most home users don't need). You usually can configure VLANs and other features as well on managed switches.

 

Unmanaged - Plug and Play. No configuration needed.


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For home use, or even SOHO use, unmanaged is fine.  You don't need to worry about anything.  If you have a large network, you're going to want managed.  We don't do any fancy VLANS or anything like that, but the ability to enable spanning tree, blocking jumbo packets, storm control, etc are all helpful in a multi-switch environment.

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unmanaged switch = cheap item, that you plug your cat5/6 cables into, instead of hitting remote for your TV or stereo receiver for inputs selections, the switch does it auto for all the wires you have plugged in.  most wifi/wireless routers have 4 ports plus 1 for up link. you are getting a router without firewalls, packet forwarding, printer server, hard drive server via usb, etc...   vs a "un managed switch" which is more like a wireless router on a chopping block with no features whatsoever. 

 

a managed switch, is general a wireless router, but normally has a bunch more wired ports, but has the extra functions and more of a router generally but not always, and settings they do offer, more likely will only see in large businesses,  schools, larger buildings, with multiple businesses throughout the building, etc... 

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