The Differences Between Managed and Unmanaged Switches: Which One Is Right For Your Business?
Before we get into the differences between managed and unmanaged switches, maybe it’s a good idea to explain what a switch actually is. Switches can be a valuable asset to your business, increasing the capacity and speed of your network. In networking terms, it is a telecommunication tool that connects multiple devices together within one Local Area Network (LAN), receiving and transmitting data to targeted destinations.
To put this into the context of a working environment, a business may have several PCs on a desk that all need to communicate with one another. A switch allows PCs to connect and share data through Ethernet cables. Widely used in networking for their high performance, Cisco switches come in a wide variety of sizes, depending on the size of your business or the number of devices that need to be connected.
Now that you have a clearer understanding of what a switch is, let’s jump right into the difference between managed and unmanaged switches.
Unmanaged switches are simple to set up, making them an ideal choice for small businesses (and for people who are not tech-savvy). Since there is zero software to install and nothing to configure, unmanaged switches are a cinch to add to your network. Simply plug in the switch, hook up your PCs and other devices to it, and connect the switch to the Internet. Piece of cake—all your PCs, servers, and printers are ready to communicate instantly.
If you are a growing company, a managed switch might be a better fit for your business. It has all the features of an unmanaged switch, but delivers a higher level of manageability and greater functionality. Managed switches gives you the capacity to configure, manage, and monitor your LAN, offering greater control over your network data flow.
Managed switches also deliver redundancy and VLAN (virtual LAN) capabilities to help keep your network safe. In the event of a network connection failure, the redundancy feature will duplicate data, creating a backup of your information.
While it’s true that managed switches have more bells and whistles than unmanaged switches, keep in mind that those extra features come with a heftier price tag.
The choice is up to you
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the differences between managed and unmanaged switches. Whatever you decide will ultimately boil down to the specific needs of your company. Still not sure which switch is right for your business? Contact Safe Harbour today!
Need advice on new IT projects or want tips for speeding up your network? Call us at (604) 295-5355 for IT advice.