Managed and Unmanaged Switch

20 pts.
Managed Switches
Networking Equipment
Unmanaged Switches
Hi, can someone tell me what the difference is between unmanaged and managed switch please?

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Managed switches permit some of the following configurations:

* Turn some particular port range on or off
* Link speed and duplex settings
* Priority settings for ports
* MAC filtering — and other types of “port security” features which prevent MAC flooding
* Use of Spanning Tree Protocol
* SNMP monitoring of device and link health
* Port mirroring (also known as: port monitoring, spanning port, SPAN port, roving analysis port or link mode port)
* Link aggregation (also known as bonding, trunking or teaming)
* VLAN settings
* 802.1X network access control
* IGMP snooping

Link aggregation allows the use of multiple ports for the same connection achieving higher data transfer speeds. Creating VLANs can serve security and performance goals by reducing the size of the broadcast domain.

Unmanaged switches do not have the ability to make such changes.


Most managed switches provide a handy web interface where you can see whats going on.

Most unmanaged switches do not have that interface, and just sit in a closet.

Many companies make “Smart Switches” which are not fully managed switches but are not unmanaged. Such products, like those from Netgear are both reliable, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive.

Hope this helps!


Discuss This Question: 3  Replies

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  • BlankReg
    That seems to sum up the differences. The only thing you left out was that unmanaged switches are usually cheaper, otherwise you would't buy them ;-)
    12,325 pointsBadges:
  • Troy Tate
    Yep, management comes w/ a price. An unmanaged switch is not much more than a hub without training wheels.
    0 pointsBadges:
  • Kevin Beaver
    The big similarity between the two is that they can both be "turned into" a hub using ARP poisoning in Cain and Abel and related tools which enables you to view all packets on that network segment. So don't assume that one is more secure than the other.
    27,515 pointsBadges:

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