Cisco catalyst

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A network switch is networking hardware that connects devices on a computer network by using packet switching to receive and forward data to the destination device.

Cisco catalyst

Cisco Catalyst License: A network switch  is networking hardware that connects devices on a computer network by using packet switching to receive and forward data to the destination device. Switches for Ethernet are the most common form of network switch.

 A network switch is a multiport network bridge that uses MAC addresses to forward data at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. Some switches can also forward data at the network layer (layer 3) by additionally incorporating routing functionality. Such switches are commonly known as layer-3 switches or multilayer switches.

Switch Types

  • Unmanaged switches have no configuration interface or options. They are plug and play. They are typically the least expensive switches, and therefore often used in a small office/home office environment. Unmanaged switches can be desktop or rack mounted.
  • Managed switches have one or more methods to modify the operation of the switch. Common management methods include: a command-line interface (CLI) accessed via serial console, telnet or Secure Shell, an embedded Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) agent allowing management from a remote console or management station, or a web interface for management from a web browser. Examples of configuration changes that one can do from a managed switch include: enabling features such as Spanning Tree Protocol or port mirroring, setting port bandwidth, creating or modifying virtual LANs (VLANs), etc. Two sub-classes of managed switches are smart and enterprise managed switches.

  • Smart switches are managed switches with a limited set of management features. Likewise, “web-managed” switches are switches that fall into a market niche between unmanaged and managed. For a price much lower than a fully managed switch they provide a web interface (and usually no CLI access) and allow configuration of basic settings, such as VLANs, port-bandwidth and duplex.
  • Enterprise managed switches  have a full set of management features, including CLI, SNMP agent, and web interface. They may have additional features to manipulate configurations, such as the ability to display, modify, backup and restore configurations. Compared with smart switches, enterprise switches have more features that can be customized or optimized and are generally more expensive than smart switches. Enterprise switches are typically found in networks with a larger number of switches and connections, where centralized management is a significant savings in administrative time and effort. A stackable switch License is a type of an enterprise-managed switch.

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