What is a Network Switch? – Everything You Need To Know About It

Don’t wait for your IT customer service to guide you through rebooting your modem.

Getting around how all things around us work is no easy task. We don’t really have the time to become experts in the field. And the technicalities can get so complex that we give up before trying.

However, understanding brings us closer to managing our lives. Grasping the concept of a network is equivalent to knowing what’s going on in your own house.

So, we thought you should know.

While some might think a network is only managed and fixed by professionals, it is a crucial aspect of our lives. Figuring out the basics components of a network will bring you a new perspective on the devices and connections within your home.

What Is The Actual Definition Of A Network?

We’ve not only heard but used the word network multiple times. We’ve integrated it into our vocabulary, maybe without knowing the extensive meaning of what it stands for.

Definition Of A Network

A network works like an association with multiple participants who speak the same language.

Your home network is a conglomerate formed by your interconnected digital devices and an internet signal that runs through them. These artifacts, such as computers, communicate with each other and internet providers through different means.

The Components Of A Network

Before we get into detail about what a network switch is, you should know it is only one of the many elements that determine it.

The components of a network are the substantial parts that make it up. To understand one of them, you should know the basics of the other ones. They are, after all, pieces of a single puzzle.

NIC

The letters NIC stand for Network Interface Controller or Card. And it does just as the name suggests.

It is a piece of hardware that allows connections to happen. There are wired and wireless NICs, but they both have the same function. It allows devices to connect to each other via a network.

Cable

Did you know wireless things wouldn’t exist without cables?

These are still fundamental pieces of equipment in today’s technology. They are the main channels through which we transmit most of our information.

Modem

Modems are gadgets that companies rent to you when you hire their services, although you could also buy your own.

This equipment collects incoming internet signals through telephone or TV cables. They grant you wired access to the internet.

Router

Routers are artifacts that work alongside modems. While modems receive internet signals by wire, routers connect to the modems to take that signal and transform it.

Routers grab analog internet wanes and replicate them in the form of a wireless signal. Then, they spread it around a limited range so devices within it can connect wirelessly to the network. Yeah, there are quite a few top-rated routers for home as well as business networks that eliminate the need for a modem.

We know this as Wifi.

Pros should know: There are new integrated devices that achieve both the functions of a modem and a router.

Hubs

The purpose of hubs is to divide a network’s availability among all the users that connect to it.

This process, however, is now obsolete. Nevertheless, knowing about hubs is pertinent because they have been replaced by the topic of this article: Network switches.

What About The Network Switch?

Just like all the components we previously mentioned, a switch is also a hardware device. Its role is to connect various artifacts to a single computer network.

About The Network Switch

The switches are newer than hubs and replaced them because their characteristics are more advanced.

So they can do their job, hubs need to broadcast a message to an entire network and wait for a response from the connected device. Unlike it, network switches know where the information originates.

Switches possess updated data about the physical address of the incoming messages. They don’t need to send out signals to understand where the message is supposed to arrive.

Since switches provide efficient results, they are not only faster, but they take less power to work and offer a more direct relationship between the source of a message and its destination.

How Does A Network Switch Work?

We’ve explained that the objective of a switch is connecting things. But how do they do it?

It’ll depend on the type of switch you work with

Unmanaged switches work by just plugging them in. They are usually the switches we have at home. Once plugged in, they offer basic internet connectivity.

Managed switches are more flexible. You can customize them to fit your network’s features and obtain more control and security. You will be in charge of who can link to your signal.

Finally, cloud-managed can offer more security perks as well. These switches update automatically, so you get the advantages of managed switches without manual work.

Why Are They So Important?

Fundamentally, they are in charge of all the communications between devices through a network.

The more improved the work of network switches, the higher the increase of the speed and efficiency of your network.

FAQs

1. What is the purpose of a network switch?

Since switches are in charge of connecting devices to create a network, their purpose is communication.

The switches are in charge of the correspondence between the artifacts that make up the network. If it weren’t for these components, computers wouldn’t be able to send information to one another.

2. What is a network switch vs router?

Routers are the hardware that connects to modems. They are in charge of taking the analog internet signals the modems receive and translate them into digital ones.

The routers create a wireless network, Wifi, and expand the reach of that signal around a limited space.

Like routers, switches are also network components. But instead of creating the network, switches connect numerous devices through that network.

3. Does Network Switch reduce speed?

In fact, switches have sped up the transmission of messages through networks.

It will depend on how old the technology that powers them is. Older switches are naturally more restricted. However, a network switch could virtually reduce speed if you add more of them.

Now that you know

As you may have already concluded, just knowing about modems and routers is not enough to grasp the basics behind our connectivity.

Although there aren’t many, gaining knowledge about the components that make up our networks can be complex. Network theory may seem simple, but the technology behind it is incredibly advanced and intricate.

The relevance of these technologies makes up the base of our current communications. For that matter, learning about the fundamental components of our networks permits us to stay updated and gain more control over the type of connections we have.

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