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By Damon Watson | 21 February 2022 | 0 Comments

Learing Switch: Difference between Managed Switch and Unmanged Switch

The use of industrial Ethernet in the field has been very common. As an important component of the network, switches play an important role in today's industrial automation. Switches in the industrial field can be divided into two categories: unmanaged and managed. Generally, the internal network of the equipment, such as the CPU and the distributed modules, use unmanaged switches for data exchange; while the communication between the equipment and the factory network uses managed switches. So, what's the difference between an unmanaged switch and a managed switch? Today we will talk about this topic.

1. Unmanaged switches

An unmanaged switch, also known as an unmanaged switch, is a network switching device that works at the second layer (data link layer) of the OSI network reference model. The data forwarding of the unmanaged switch is based on the MAC address. It can identify the MAC address in the data packet and send the data to the corresponding port according to the MAC address table stored in it (initial state, when the MAC address table is empty. At the same time, the switch will broadcast the data to all ports. With the sending and receiving of the data, the relationship between the MAC address and the port is gradually established, and updated in time according to the actual situation).

Unmanaged switches are plug-and-play devices and do not support routing management; they cannot be divided into VLANs; because they do not recognize IP headers, all nodes can only be divided into the same subnet;

2. Managed switch

Managed switches are also called managed switches, which are relative to unmanaged switches. The managed switch works on the third layer (network layer) of the OSI network reference model, supports VLAN division, supports routing functions, supports SNMP protocol (Simple Network Management Protocol), and can be configured through the web.

The ability to divide VLANs is one of the characteristics of managed switches. VLAN is the abbreviation of "Virtual Local Area Network" in English and translated into "Virtual Local Area Network" in Chinese.

By dividing VLANs, the local area network connected to the switch can be logically divided into different subnets (Subnets), and the subnets cannot communicate directly, thereby effectively isolating network storms and enhancing network security. VLAN also increases the flexibility of network management, and only needs to be configured from the software to change the network to which the device belongs, and does not require changes on the physical connection.

Support for routing is another feature of managed switches. The routing function can analyze the IP address in the packet, and forward data according to the routing table inside the switch, which can realize data exchange between different subnets.

Managed switches provide more functions than unmanaged switches and are more expensive.

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